Belarus is an independent country situated in Eastern Europe. The nation is landlocked and occupies an area of 80,153 square miles. Belarus has a largely flat terrain with expansive areas of marshland. The country’s average elevation is 525 feet above sea level and has many streams and lakes. Forests occupy approximately 40% of land in Belarus. It experiences maritime and continental climates. Belarus is bordered by five European countries namely Poland, Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Russia. Some of the natural resources in Belarus are peat deposits, forests, oil, natural gas, brown coal, fertile land, limestone, Iron, clay, chalk, and sand.
Belarus has some peat deposits in its marshlands. Peat is a brown material made of partly decomposed vegetation and organic matter. It forms when decayed vegetation and other organic substances accumulate in their natural areas known as bogs, moors, and peatlands. The peat is harvested from the wetlands and dried to form bricks that can be used for heating. Peat is used as a substitute for firewood. In the early 20th century, before cooking gas gained popularity as a source of fuel in European countries, Peat was used in households for heating and cooking. The commodity is also used to power electric power plants. Peat reserves have significantly decreased in Belarus. Some of the peat deposits are in protected areas to preserve them from depletion.
Belarus has an abundance of forests, which form part of Belarus natural wealth. They are classified as state property. Forests in Belarus are comprised of diverse trees such as pines, oaks, birches, aspens, and other hardwood trees. Belarusian forests have led to the development of a huge forestry industry that is comprised of over five thousand enterprises. More than 146,000 Belarusian nationals work in the forestry industry. The forestry sector in Belarus provides timber for local and international markets. Since 2013, timber production in the country has steadily risen due to high demand from the construction industry, furniture manufacturing sector. Due to their importance to the country, the forests are protected and managed by Belarusian authorities.
Belarus has a significant amount of shale oil reserves within its borders. However, most of the oil reserves have remained unexploited. It is estimated that Belarus has between 5 and 11 billion tons of oil in reserves throughout the country. The main reasons the oil has not been exploited are the high cost of extraction, the high sulfur content in the oil, and existence of cheaper substitutes. In recent times, Belarus has developed interest in exploiting the oil deposits. The country has established partnerships with China and Estonia to help in the extraction of oil shale.
Belarus has natural gas as part of its natural wealth. However, natural gas exists in small quantities. As of 2015, the nation produced 8.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Belarus has slightly more than 60 gas fields where the natural gas is extracted. Commercial extraction of natural gas and oil began in 1965 in Belarus. Belorusneft is one of the Belarusian companies that extract natural gas. The amount natural gas produced in Belarus is small, and as a result all the natural gas produced is consumed locally.
Belarus has brown coal as part of its natural wealth, which is used as a source of fuel. The coal deposits in Belarus have not been fully exploited. The country has invited international companies to assist in exploring the naturally occurring commodity. However, environmental concerns often limit the use of coal as fuel.
Belarus has plenty of fertile lands especially close to the river basins. The land is used to grow a variety of crops such as barley, wheat, potatoes, oats, sugar beets, and fodder. The fertile land supports the agricultural sector in Belarus. Most of the agricultural products produced in Belarus are sold in the local markets. Food processing is one big sector that provides employment to numerous Belarusians and contributes to the national income.
Belarus has rich limestone deposits. State-owned companies mainly extract the limestone, which is mostly used as a raw material in cement production. Limestone is also used in making fertilizers. Belarus is listed as the world’s fourth largest producer of fertilizer. Additionally, limestone is regularly used in making lime, a product used in treating soil. Lastly, limestone is used in making paint, plastics, and medicine. The domestic market uses most of the limestone extracted in Belarus. The pits formed after limestone has been extracted provide a scenic landscape. Tourists often visit these limestone extraction sites for their unique terrain.
Iron And Steel
Belarus has major iron ores found within its borders. Iron and steel are important components in numerous sectors of the economy. The iron industry in Belarus mainly produces steel bars, iron pipes, metal cords, screws, wires, bolts, and nails. Close to 90% of the iron and steel in Belarus is produced by the Byelorussian Steel Works Company. The steel is used in diverse sectors such as construction and manufacturing.
Belarus has sand as part of its natural resources. The sand deposits are mainly found in the Eastern region of the country. The sand is mainly used in construction of homes, roads, and industrial plants. Some sand is also used to make glass and insulating material. Most of the sand reserves in Belarus are unexplored. In November 2018, the Belarusian government offered a sand site to foreign companies able to extract the sand.
The Significance Of Natural Resources In Belarus
Belarus has limited natural resources. The country owns and manages most of its natural resources. Belarus lacks the technological and infrastructural ability to explore some of its minerals and oil reserves. As a result, Belarus seeks foreign partners to assist in the exploration of its resources. The resources extracted in Belarus provide important raw materials for most industries in the country including the food industry, energy sector, construction industry, and the manufacturing sector. The natural resources of Belarus are key contributors to the country’s national income.