A French company has been hired by the French Polynesian government to draw up a strategy on mining, including on the territory's seafloor.
A sum of $US70,000 has been allocated to the company Abyssa for a nine-month period to explore the potential.
A study by the IRD Institute in 2016 established that French Polynesia has cobalt, nickel, manganese, titanium and platinum, but the viability of mining is unclear.
Ownership is being challenged, with the pro-independence opposition claiming the territory's right to sovereignty over all resources, including those at sea.
Under French law, the state can claim French Polynesia's resources if they are declared of strategic value.
Paris has the rights to the territory's seabed and continental shelves, which are believed to be also rich in rare earths.
Four years ago France extended the continental shelf off several of its overseas territories, including New Caledonia.