Industrial activity not only assumes the existence of energy sources, but also raw materials

The industry assumes the existence, alongside the energy sources of raw materials for processing. Some of them are ubiquitously through space, but others suffer a strong spatial concentration which requires political control to ensure their supply, which means that in certain areas of the Third World armed conflicts occur for control of territories in which those raw materials are. From this we derive also some of the tensions between developed countries (who are the primary consumers) and developing countries (which are the main producers). The raw materials can be grouped into two major groups: mineral raw materials and organic raw materials.

Mineral raw materials

Within the mineral raw materials can make a distinction between raw materials metallic and nonmetallic minerals. Among the metallic minerals is noteworthy iron as the main raw material, due to its importance for the industry and its production volume. Countries like the United States, Russia, Brazil and Liberia are among the largest producers.

Among the metallic minerals, known as strategic are vital for leading industries such as electronics, robotics or aeronautics. These minerals are chromium, manganese, nickel, magnesium and precious metals. The reserves of these minerals are concentrated in developing countries of Africa , hence its geostrategic importance.


Nonmetallic minerals (or non-ferrous), such as aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, mercury and tin are more associated with metallurgical industries. Finally, phosphates are the basis of the chemical fertilizer for farming, and the main producers are Morocco, Russia and the United States . Indeed, the interest in controlling the phosphate deposits explains the Western Sahara conflict.

Organic raw materials

Organic raw materials (both plant and animal) are the basis for the textile industry, for food processing, for the paper and for furniture. Thus the textile industry base is composed of hemp, jute, linen, cotton and wool. The base of the food industry, meanwhile compose corn and wheat (produced primarily in the United States, Russia, China , with India and Argentina), and tropical products such as cocoa, sugar cane or fruits , which has been a great business relationship and dependence between producing and consuming countries. The furniture industry and the paper industry involve excessive logging.