Germany Mineral Resources and Industry

The secondary sector absorbs 33% of the workforce and contributes approx. 30% to the formation of the GDP, values ​​higher than those of most developed countries. As regards the resources of the subsoil, Germany is traditionally rich in coal (deposits of Ruhr, Saarland, Aachen, Zwickhau-Ölsnitz) and lignite (North Rhine-Westphalia, North Hesse, Upper Palatinate, Leipzig-Halle-Bitterfeld area- Merseburg, Lower Lusatia), energy resources that have played a decisive role in favoring the industrial take-off of the country, but whose exploitation has significantly reduced over the years because it is considered polluting and uneconomical. The production of hydrocarbons (oil and methane, extracted at Ems and Hannover) is interesting, certainly insufficient to guarantee consumption, but able to cover as a whole approx. 30% (which adds to the supply energy role that anthracite and lignite still play, for example in civil consumption and thermoelectric plants). Quantities of uranium and radioactive minerals are present on the territory. The other mineral resources are very modest, apart from rock salt, potassium salts and pyrites, which are very important in their use by the chemical industry; up to a recent past the productions of zinc, iron, copper and lead were important. The refining capacity is obviously much higher than the internal production, and it mainly feeds on imported oil; the largest refineries, somewhat distributed throughout Germany, are connected to the network of oil pipelines from German ports, French, Dutch and Italians. Even the production of electricity is insufficient to meet the needs (Germany imports large quantities from France), despite the contribution given by the thermonuclear power plants, which supply 30% of the energy produced internally, but for which the government has signed an agreement which provides for its total closure by 2021. There are numerous wind power plants along the Baltic and North Sea coasts, but this type of energy, together with water and solar energy, covers only a small part of the production national.

As far as industrial production is concerned, the German economy remains characterized, at least in general terms, by a very strong presence of manufacturing activity, even if with a partial decline in productivity compared to the early nineties, also as a consequence of the political and social choices deriving from unification. The product range covered by German industry (both in the west and in the east) is very vast, and here we will limit ourselves to mentioning only the most important productions. Despite the modest availability of iron ore today, the best-known manufacturing sector in Germany is certainly the steel industry. The coal-steel complex traditionally constituted the backbone of German industrialization and, albeit to a decreasing extent (due to the global crisis in the sector, but above all the delocalization of production outside Europe), it still represents a very important segment, with steel and cast iron, mainly centered in the Ruhr area, but also in Lower Saxony and the coast. Other metallurgical productions are also important: 1a and 2 to fusion, copper, zinc and aluminum. Similarly for basic chemical products (caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid) and fine (colors, pharmaceutical and photochemical products), the country ranks at the top of the world rankings; a large part of the chemical and petrochemical companies (concentrated in a few groups of global importance, such as Bayer and Hoechst) is located in the Rhine region and especially in Saxony. Metalworking production is also of global importance, distributed throughout almost the entire German territory, albeit with some major centers (Wolfsburg, Rüsselsheim, Cologne, Stuttgart, Munich, especially for the automotive sector). The production of motor vehicles is very important: some individual German car companies (such as Volkswagen, Daimler-Benz, BMW), now highly internationalized, are acquiring other companies, in Europe and elsewhere, and realizing strategic agreements, which places them in very advantageous positions on the world market. In addition to means of transport (also railway materials in Berlin, Munich, Kassel, Cologne and Duisburg; agricultural machinery in Mannheim, Hannover, Kassel, Esslingen; the shipyards of Hamburg, Bremen, Emden, Kiel, Rostock), German mechanics produces a number of capital goods (machine tools, textiles, printing machines, various kinds of plants), destined for practically every productive use; Relevant centers for this mechanical production are Augsburg, Offenbach, Esslingen, Reutlingen, Heidenheim, Solingen etc. Siemens), precision mechanics, optics, despite the strong international competition in these sectors, traditional for the German industry. Munich is home to one of the largest European technology parks, specializing in telematics and biotechnology. Visit sportsqna.com for Europe economy.

Traditional is the textile production, still important even if in decline, present above all along the lower Rhine and in Saxony, as well as in Baden-Württemberg, but characteristic of much more numerous small areas of ancient industrialization. Again, the industries of leather and fur, paper, rubber, building materials, weapons, glass and ceramics, musical instruments, tobacco, etc. Finally, it is appropriate to mention the food industry and, in particular, the production of beer, very widespread in Bavaria and in some large cities. Very noteworthy is the tendency, now generalized throughout the German territory, to subordinate production needs and, in particular, those of industry, to forms of environmental protection (in the country there are many experts in optimizing production cycles in a key ecological), with an obvious increase in costs for companies (which however does not seem to have affected the competitiveness of the companies themselves), but also effects of territorial reconversion (rehabilitation of old plants, reclamation of abandoned industrial sites, environmental impact assessments for new installations) deep and very effective. These practices mainly concern the reconversion of the now inexpensive and polluting extractive industries. The recovery of the Ruhr area is a worldwide example, but there are still many areas where disused mines are surrounded by degraded and polluted neighborhoods. The situation is particularly serious in the eastern areas, where Soviet-style industrial development had profoundly altered the environmental balance and where it will take several years and capital to implement forms of recovery that bring the situation back to Western standards.

Germany Mineral Resources and Industry