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Classified in Geography

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Raw materials can be obtained from different sources such as plants, animals and minerals.

Raw materials from plants and animals

FOOD PRODUCTS

These can be obtained both from plants and animals. In some countries, such as Spain, the food industry is very important.

TEXTILE FIBRES OF PLANT ORIGIN

Cotton is the most important fibre, but linen and jute are also used. The main producers of these fibres are China, Russia, the United States and India.

TEXTILE FIBRES OF ANIMAL ORIGIN

The most important one is wool. The main producers are Australia and New Zealand. Silk, which is produced by a type of worm, is also an important fibre. Its main producers are China and Japan.

FOREST PRODUCTS

Wood is used as a raw material in the cellulose, paper and furniture industries. Other important products include resin, cork and rubber. Today, natural rubber is being replaced by a synthetic form.

Minerals

Minerals are extracted from the Earth’s crust through a process called mining. We mine three types of minerals:

  • Metallic minerals: global production of iron, copper andbauxite is particularly important. Aluminium is extracted from bauxite, which is abundant in tropical regions. Gold, silver and mercury are also metallic minerals.

  • Non-metallic minerals: these include phosphates and nitrates. They are very important for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The most important fertilisers are natural phosphates, found in North Africa, the United States and Russia. Other non-metallic minerals, such as clay or marble, are used in construction. They can be found almost anywhere in the world.

  • Minerals used to produce energy: these include coal, petroleum and radioactive minerals, such as uranium, radium, etc.

The main producers of copper are the United States, Russia, Chile and Zambia.

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