Germany is Rich in Resources
Indispensable to Industry and Society
Raw materials are the starting point of the entire value chain; they serve as the foundation of our modern industrial society. Without the availability of raw materials economic success is not possible. They serve to meet basic material needs - nearly all products are made of raw materials – and ensure our standard of living. Without raw materials there would be no industry, no service industry, no steel, no energy.
In Germany, we are fortunate to have raw material deposits of international significance. We have considerable deposits of rock salt and of potash, and our kaolin deposits are among the world’s largest. We are also able to meet our country’s demands for sand, gravel, clay, limestone and gypsum. Lignite is the most important energy resource, closely followed by hard coal and natural gas. More than 750 million tons of the raw materials required by the German industry per year are also extracted here.
An Important Pillar of Our National Economy
With more than 120,000 employees in approximately 4,000 operations, the German raw materials industry is an important pillar of our national economy. If we take into consideration all jobs directly or indirectly connected with raw material production and the corresponding supply industry, the number of jobs in this industrial sector may be calculated to be more than 300,000.
Against this background, it is obvious why it is necessary for industrial policy to pay special attention to domestic raw materials. But there is another, equally important reason: raw materials help to ensure a country’s independence, they are `immune´ to trade restrictions, sudden supply shortages and political unrest in crisis regions, which may seriously inhibit the availability of raw materials, which may seriously impact employment, economic growth and investments in Germany.
For the future, this country still has sufficient deposits of most of the raw materials occurring here. As German raw materials are primarily mass raw materials they are mostly heavy and are required in large volumes. Local extraction is therefore all the more important to our domestic markets, for economic as well as for environmental reasons (transport, fuel consumption, noise etc.).