List of Italy natural resources and their uses.  Italy is a European country situated in Southern Europe with a population of 61 million people and an area of 301,340km². Italy is ranked as the fourth country with the highest population in Southern Europe, the third-largest economy in the European zone and the eighth largest in the world. The country is considered one of the highly industrialized countries in the world and as well as one of the top nations in exporting items. Italy is regarded as one of the most developed economies in the world. In 2005, Italy was ranked as the country with the best quality of life and the sixth biggest manufacturing country in the world. The country is characterized by few global multinational companies in comparison to countries of similar size. In Italy, there are numerous natural resources widely spread throughout the country. 

Italy Natural Resources

  The Italian headland is a young geological land formation and it contains few mineral resources, particularly the metalliferous ones. The few existing mineral resources are scanty, of poor quality and widely distributed. The scantiness of Italy’s natural resources partly explains the slow transition the country had from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy. The transition only started in the late 19th century. The production of steel required for building machines, railways and other essential elements of the industry was impeded by the lack of iron ore and coal, industrial growth was also hindered. The mineral industry in Italy is completely controlled by the Italian Government.

The country’s natural resources range from; natural gas, crude oil, coal, zinc, potash, pumice, marble, barite, mercury, fluorspar, asbestos, pyrite and to feldspar. 

Italy Natural Resources And Their Uses

  • Arable Land

In 2015, Italy’s arable land occupied approximately 22.4% of the total land area. There has been a noticeable fluctuation in arable land throughout the years, and the country has its land utilized for agriculture. There were 1.6 million farms covering 12.7 million hectares as of 2010. 99% of the land owned in the country is family owned and it is averaged at about eight acres in size. Italy is one of the leading countries in the nation in terms of wine production and olive oil production. The country also produces fruits such as;  apples, grapes, oranges, palms, pears, lemons, apricots, strawberries, peaches, hazelnuts, cherries, kiwi fruits, and plums among others. 

Agriculture makes a 2.1% contribution to the country’s GDP and plays an important role in the country’s economy. Items produced in the northern part of the country include; grains, dairy products, beans, and meat. Items produced in the southern part of the country includes; wine, fruits, olive oil, vegetables, and durum wheat. Some parts of the country has mountainous terrain which is unsuitable for farming, and close to 4% of the population is employed for farming. The country has per capita output equivalent to that of France and the United Kingdom. Industries concerned with food processing in the country depends mainly on imported raw materials. Italy is one of the biggest food processors as well as one of the biggest agricultural producers in the European Union. 

  • Gemstones And Industrial Minerals

In Italy, gemstones are mostly cut materials, they are; type-C jades, mother of pearls, onyx, malachite, pink opal, Cornelia, and Lapis. Some other materials used are; coral, turquoise, chrysoprase, blue chalcedony, London blue topaz, and amethyst. Gems only used in more significant projects are; garnet, peridot, beryl, tourmaline, and topaz. A decrease of global necessities for jewelry was followed by a 4% decrease in the export of jewelry. 

Italics Marble’s are known globally for their natural qualities and are quarried at different places from the Alps to Sicily. Apuan Alps is the most important white-marble producing location which accounts for Italy’s one-third of the 100,000 t of white marble. Sicily is the colored-marbled producing location in the country, together with other areas like the Lazio region, Lombardy, Verona-Vincenza, Puglia, Po Valley, and Venice. Italy is one of the leading producers of feldspar, pumice, and pozzolana. Production of almost all of the country’s minerals witnessed a steady decrease during the late 20th century except for the rock salt, natural gas, and petroleum. In early 1970, Italy was self-sufficient in aluminum from Gargano in Puglia, sulfur from Sicily, zinc from Sardinia and lead. At that same time, the country was a major producer of pyrites from the Tuscan Maremma, asbestos from the Balangero mines, fluorite from Sicily and Northern Italy, and salt. In the early 1990s, Italy had lost all ranked positions and was not self-sufficient in those resources again. 

  • Metals

Italy is the seventh biggest exporter in the world, exporting large quantities of steel. By June 2017, Italy had exported 8.8 million tons of steel. Of all the steel exported nationwide, Italy’s steel accounted for 4%. In 2016, the country’s steel export was a bit bigger above that of Belgium and a bit below that of China (the largest exporter in the world). In terms of value, steel exports amount to 6% of the exports in the country and more than 170 countries are provided with steel from Italy. The country depended on imports of lead and zinc for their domestic needs as only a small amount is produced in Sardinia. 

  • Iron And Coal

Precisely half of Italy’s iron output comes from one of the oldest geologic areas, the island of Elba. Another important location for production is Cogne with deposits lying 2,000 feet above sea level. In Italy, little iron-bearing Ore has been produced since 1984. Coal of principally small amounts and inferior quality KS found in Tuscany, and its exploitation has almost been neglected. Most of Italy’s coal is imported from South Africa, Russia, China, and the United States. 

  • Oil And Natural Gas

Italy relied heavily on oil supplies from North Africa and the Middle East when the supply of oil discovered off Sicily was limited. Unsurprisingly, Italy was at the forefront of nuclear research due to the short supply of oil. In 1965, the country had three nuclear power stations and a fourth one was opened in 1981. However, nuclear power only accounted for 0.1% of the country’s total electricity and was decommissioned in 1987. In the early 21st century, the issue was revisited for an increase in the country’s nuclear power capacity but the proposal was rejected. Afterward, Italy remained a consumer of nuclear-generated power with much of its supply from Switzerland and France. 

Italy’s most significant discovery has been the natural gas with its most important exploitation in Po Valley. Exploration later focused on offshore supplies which are along the Adriatic coast. Reliance on imports increased in 1970, and by the beginning of the 21st century, most of Italy’s natural gas was imported and most of its supply was primarily from Russia, Algeria, and the Netherlands. The country has about 19,000 miles of pipelines. The use of natural gas increased at the expense of oil which was an energy source for electricity production. But by the 21st century, natural gas became the primary energy source for electricity production. Fossil fuel accounts for 90% of Italy’s total energy consumption. 

Transporting natural gas in Italy is carried out in two ways;  primary distribution and secondary distribution. Primary distribution involves transportation via large pipelines at a scale of a 29,300-kilometer-long gas pipeline which whirls around the whole of Italy with the exception of Sardinia. The secondary distribution of natural gas involves the supply of gas locally. 

  Italy’s GDP in the fourth quarter of the year 2017 had grown to 0.3% reaching $511,787 million, and this has positioned Italy in the quarterly GDP rankings out of 50 countries. In both 2019 and 2020, the GDP growth rate has been foretold to be 0.9%. An expansionary fiscal policy could be adopted by the government to lead to a budget deficit of about 2.5% and 2.8% in 2020. 

  It is likely that Italy will continue to rely on importation of mineral fuel even though there have been predictions that there would be an increase in domestic production due to the discovery of new deposits. The mining industry of the country is suffering from low funding and miners of the Sardinia coal mine are resorting extremely in protest against likely closure of the mine because of low funding. According to reports, this could lead to a loss of about 500 jobs. It is believed that the economy of the country will be revived at a slow pace as there are no investment sources in the nearest future. The Italian government will have to; improve its policies, invest more in the mining sector, and keep the focus on displaying its resources to the global community. 

That’s all about the list of Italy’s Natural Resources and their uses.


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