||Yves Fouquet, Denis Lacroix
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Major industrial developments are based on the availability of energy and minerals: iron in the 19th century, aluminium and copper in the 20th century, silicon and high-tech metals for the past twenty years. Today, glowing tensions are emerging between mineral availability and global requirements, especially in major industrial countries, which continue to rise in number and force. China's growth alone accounts for half of the rise in demand for base metals since 2000. Given the risks for Europe of supply shortages of strategic metals used in many high-tech industries, or even of certain common metals such as copper, it has become necessary to actively explore the potential of deep-sea mineral resources (DSMR). as a possible source in addition to known deposits on land. It is with this as a backdrop that I decided to launch a study, in September 2009. on this subject with a 2030 vision, focusing on the needs of France and Europe. France boasts a vast ocean territory, technological resources and long recognised skills in deep-sea exploration: it is therefore important that France continues to be a major player in this exploration, especially at a time when the conditions governing industrial development of this sector are being defined. Over twenty French partners, representing the sector's main players, were involved in this year-long study. I would like to thank them most sincerely for their investment in this collective effort. The issues addressed were both numerous and complex, as they concerned changes in the legal framework, supply and markets. the types of deep-sea geological sites liable to be exploited, the possible technologies and then impacts, all in an environment that remains poorly known and difficult to access.