Germany Natural Resources And Their Uses

List of Germany Natural Resources and their usefulness. Germany is known to be Europe’s largest and one of the world’s largest economy, precisely the fifth. The country is particularly known worldwide as one of the biggest consumers of mineral resources. The country is wealthy of natural resources which significantly contribute to the country’s economy either through the exportation of materials or generation of energy. The natural resources range from; rocks and soil (for the construction industry), oil and gas(mainly extracted in North Germany and the North Sea), Lignite( mainly extracted in North-Rhine Westphalia and Brandenburg), salt and potash(mainly extracted at the periphery of the Harz mountains), etc. All thanks to the machinery revolution which marked the beginning of intensive exploitation on natural resources in Germany. 

Germany Natural Resources

  Germany is generally regarded as a country that is resource-poor and can only boast of relatively few domestic natural resources. The country imports most of its raw materials. They are majorly the producers of brown coal(lignite) and bituminous coal. In 1990, the centuries-old mining and processing of uranium ores for the interest of the Soviet Union in the Ore Mountains were stopped, as well as the centuries-old mining and processing of copper ores in the Mansfield area of eastern Germany was stopped. Northern Germany has small reserves of oil and gas. 

Germany Natural Resources And Their Uses

  • Coal

One of the largest coal reserves in the world can be found in Germany, it is ahead of the world in the production of brown coal(lignite) and it is the most important natural resource in Germany in terms of the value of production. Bituminous coal is the second most important natural resource in Germany, though its extraction is costly and often subsidized, it is available from the Ruhr field, the smaller Saar field, the Aachen field, and the Ibbenburen fields.

The brown coal(lignite) is a waterlogged and low-grade fuel mined from open and vast pits. Germany has three main extraction areas for lignite. The “Garzweiler mine”  is Europe’s largest lignite mine situated in Rhenish and this mining region for lignite covers a 2,500km2 area to the west of Cologne. Another extraction area is located in Lausitz, an important industrial site in the state of Brandenburg and south of Berlin. Lastly is the extraction area located in Central German(Saxony). Extraction is managed by four companies. 

Coal is vital to Germany’s economy being the chief source of energy for the country, but presently has two major uses; the generation of electricity and production of metallurgical coke. The economic growth of the country was fueled by “Hard coal” after the end of the Second World War. Challenges are faced in extracting some coal deposits due to their location or depth and harvesting such coal deposits is extremely expensive. In 1960, subsidies were introduced by the German government for the reduction of costs incurred by mining companies in the extraction of hard coal. In 2018, the German government was set to close its two hard coal mines.

  • Natural Gas

Natural gas reserves in Germany are ranked fiftieth(50th) in the world. The amount of Natural gas produced has witnessed a steady decrease since 2003. The estimated capacity of natural gas reserves in Germany is 175,600 million according to the World Fact book. Natural gas has high demand in Germany with slightly over 22% of satisfaction derived from it for the country’s primary energy requirements. The country is only capable of producing 8% of natural gas and imports the rest. The country’s imports are mostly supplied by Russia, Norway, and the Netherlands and the importation are through pipelines due to the infrastructure of the country. The natural gas is primarily consumed by houses and small businesses for generating heat. 

  • Oil

As of 2015, Germany had fifty(50) crude oil fields and 90% of the total German production was produced by the oilfields of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. Oil extracted from the fields was by means of some production wells in drilling installations and production platforms. Germany’s biggest oil extraction site was “Mittelplate”. Germany’s principal source of energy is Oil. Most crude oil and petroleum products are imported and transported from Rotterdam as domestic production is quite limited. Oil delivered by pipeline from Russia to a refinery at Schwedt is received by Eastern Germany.

  • Timber

One of the most critical natural resources in Germany is Timber. The country ranks fifth(5th) in wood exports all over the world. The country has more than. 1.2 million people employed in this sector with about 150,000 timber companies. In Germany, the growth of the timber industry is dependent on the growth of the furniture industry. 

  • Copper

Germany is ranked third in the consumption of copper and ranked sixth in the production of refined copper internationally. Copper is one of Germany’s essential minerals. The Arubis dominate the refined copper production in Germany and also dominate production in the European Union. Copper is an important part of electrical equipment. 

  • Salt

The salt is also an extractive natural resource used for commercial and industrial purposes do the food and chemical industries. The salt is located in six potash mines; Hesse, Lower Saxony, Thuringia, and Saxony-Anhalt. The salt is located in seven salt mines in; Baden-Wuerttemberg, Lower Saxony, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Thuringia. And lastly in seven salt works in; Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania and North Rhine-Westphalia. 

  • Arable Land

As stated from the data from the World Bank, below 34% of the lands in Germany is arable. The influence agriculture has had on the country’s economy cannot be underestimated as it had provided about 4.3 billion euros for the country in the first quarter of 2018. Different crops are produced in different regions of the country due to differences in conditions. Fruits and vegetables are grown majorly in large cities for sale to the towns. Various crops are grown on the country’s arable land and they range from cereals to fruits and vegetables. 

  • Quarried Natural Resources

Quarried natural resources are bulky raw materials that comprise; a large amount of mineral deposits, gravel, and sands, broken natural stone, lime, marl and dolomite stones, gypsum and anhydrite stones, clays and loams. They are not evenly distributed across the country and are only site-bound due to geological condition. They are mainly used for constructions. Germany has building materials and quarrying industry comprising of 1,600 companies handling 3,100 extraction facilities. The building materials and quarrying Industry mines approximately 550 tons of primary raw materials. Information revealed on revenue from this sector could be sensitive for companies as it could reveal information on their price. The largest single group in this sector is LafargeHolcim-Gruppe.

  • Uranium

The uranium was mined from underground and open pits, and processing of the uranium was in facilities close to the mines. East Germany was separated from West Germany with the former having more uranium exploration than the latter. East Germany had produced close to 7,000 tons of uranium annually before unification with West Germany. Uranium was essentially used as an ingredient for nuclear weapons and nuclear energy facilities. This sector had more than 400,000 people working under them before it was closed down after the reunification. Primarily, it was closed down because of the impact it had on the environment. Uranium production was estimated at 38 tins from the Konigstein mine in 2007. East Germany ranked third in uranium production. 

  Germany is described as a federal country with much of the licensing information on the state level. The state-level pays the non-tax revenues(an example is royalties), while the municipal level pays the trade tax. Decisions on how the tax generated from extraction is used are decided by the people responsible for Federal Budget, State Budget, and Municipal Budget. Extractive industries hold high importance in the country due to employments of about 71,000 employees in the open-pit mines and their ability to generate sales of around €9.2 billion. 

  One of the main topics concerning extraction in Germany is the future of brown coal (lignite). Plans were made by the government to work on moving into a low-carbon energy generation while easing its impacts on the mining regions. Regarding mining projects in Germany, the country does not use bidding to obtain projects. The first administrative procedure to be followed is getting a mining permit, and a well laid out operating plan on how the project will be carried out needs to be presented(the operating plan will be checked against legal requirements). Regular revision of the operating plan would be done afterward. The regulation of extraction in Germany is done by BBergG.

That’s all on the list of Germany Natural resources and their uses.


Tag: Germany Natural Resources