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Although diverse, the natural resources of France are relatively limited in quantity. France has some coal, iron ores, bauxite, and uranium; but the coal veins are deep and difficult to work and are unsuitable for use in the manufacture of steel. Iron ores are of a low grade, and the uranium ore is found only in small quantities. Deposits of petroleum are almost nonexistent, and natural gas reserves discovered (1951) at Lacq in the Pyrenées are now nearly exhausted. Hydroelectric production, although well developed, does not meet France's needs. On the other hand, high-quality soils cover almost half the country's surface, giving France an agricultural surplus that makes it an exporter of food.

Daniel Noin; Reviewed by Anne Depigny and Agnes Jolivet.
Source: The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Release #6, © 1993

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