Raw materials and resources

IFREMER provides support for the national strategy in regard to the exploration and exploitation of deep seabed mineral resources through its expertise in marine geosciences, deep-sea environments and technological development (exploration systems, sensors and observation and environmental monitoring instruments, etc.) and through its international scientific collaborations.

For raw materials and mineral resources, research at IFREMER and the associated public policy support services involve

  • the study of the interactions and the dynamics of fluids, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere as well as the mechanisms behind the formation of mineral resources,
  • the exploration of the deep seabed for a better knowledge of the ecosystems found there, how they originate and their functioning,
  • the development of technology and methodologies for innovative and multi-scale reconnaissance, observation, analysis, monitoring, and underwater operations,
  • the management of exploration contracts signed with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) under the auspices of and sponsored by France.

Contracts: metallic mineral resources in international waters

Mineral resources in international waters (the Area) are managed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA). France has two exploration contracts in the Area, one in the Clarion-Clipperton zone (Pacific Ocean) and the other in the North Atlantic.

Mandate and action of IFREMER regarding marine materials

Commissioned by the government, a national inventory of marine aggregates (sand and gravels) was conducted from 1969 to 1981. At the joint behest of IFREMER and local governments, regional inventories were also carried out in the regions of North-Pas de Calais, Brittany, Guadeloupe and Martinique.


EXTRAPLAC (EXTension RAisonnée du PLAteau Continental — Annotated Extension of the Continental Shelf)