Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Romania?

Romania has rich mineral resources.

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Romania is located in the southeastern region of Europe, and the nation’s capital is Bucharest. Romania has a rich history that has been influenced by regional powers. The nation has had considerable influence from the Romans and Ottomans. The country's landscape is comprised of forested and mountainous areas as well as plains and hills. The climate is mainly temperate. Romania has a wide array of natural resources which include petroleum, gold, silver, uranium, arable land, forests, and rivers with immense hydroelectric potential. The country produces significant amounts of alumina, coal, cement, lead, copper ore, zinc, and iron ore. The country has mineral resource development potential, especially in the hydrocarbon sector. The nation's economy is mainly based on the services sector which accounts for 59.4% of the GDP while agriculture and industry account for 6.4% and 34.2% of the GDP respectively.

Copper

The largest copper mine in the country is the Cupru Min Rosia Poieni mine located in Abrud. The mine has an estimated 1,102 million tons of copper with 0.36% and 1.8% sulfur grading. The mine’s ore extraction capacity was expected to rise to 16.5 million tons in 2015 from the previous 9.9 million tons in 2013. The Romanian government has in recent years attempted to enhance extraction from the mine to 19.8 million tons through partnerships.

Gold And Silver

Romania has significant gold deposits at Rosia Montana. The Rosia Montana project is considered to have among the largest gold deposits in Europe. The mine is estimated to have 203 tons of gold and 1,217 tons of silver. The mine also has probable deposits of 515 tons of silver and 144 tons of gold. The mine is expected to run for 16 years with a production capacity of 58.4 tons of silver and 16.5 tons of gold per year, therefore, making the nation a considerable gold producer. Production at the mine is expected to generate up to $40 billion in government revenue. However, the project has faced opposition from the community and environmental groups.

Coal

The nation has lignite and bituminous coal deposits estimated to be 10,626 million tons and 2,684 million tons respectively. The country produced about 25.2 million tons of lignite coal and 1.98 million tons of bituminous coal in 2013 which represented a drop in production. The nation previously produced up to 35.3 million tons of lignite coal and 2.09 million tons of bituminous coal. The drop in production was attributed to increased land acquisition and operational costs. Between the years 2012 and 2013, the government undertook the restructuring of the industry in a bid to address some of the challenges facing the sector. The restructuring involved the vertical integration of mining operations with power plants to reduce costs.

Petroleum And Natural Gas

Romania has an estimated 200 million barrels of proven oil deposits making it the fourth largest deposit in Europe. The nation also has natural gas estimated to be about 130.6 trillion cubic feet. The gas deposits are the fifth largest in Europe. The country’s oil and natural gas production is estimated at 29.7 million barrels per year and 388 billion cubic feet respectively. In the five years preceding 2013, gas production was observed to plateau. Despite the significant oil and gas deposits, the nation remains a net oil and gas importer. In 2013, oil and natural gas imports amounted to 39 million barrels and 49.4 billion cubic feet respectively. The imported oil goes to the nation's refineries which have double the domestic production capacity.

Uranium

By the year 2013, Romania remained among the last remaining producers of uranium in Europe. The nation had an estimated production capacity of 88 tons. Uranium was mainly sourced from the Crucea deposit which had been under operation for 30 years. The deposit was however seen to be nearing depletion. The Baita mine in Bihor County was closed in 2009. The mine had been in operation since the 1950s and supplied its uranium to the Soviet Union. In September 2013 the government announced a new mine close to Grinties in Neamt County. At the time the mine required $130 million in investment. The mine had an expected production of 124,000 tons per year. A significant amount of uranium produced in the country is used in nuclear power generation.

Forests And Timber

Forestry in the country has been practiced for centuries. The nation witnessed a shift from the production of raw timber to processed wood products which have higher value after WWII. The exploitation of forests for lumber was significant in the nation in the 1980s. Forests occupied about 27 % of the nation's territory, often growing on steep slopes not favorable for cultivation. Extensive forests were found in the Transylvanian and Carpathians Alps. The country's reserves are comprised of hardwood such as sycamore, linden, maple, hornbeam, oak, ash, beech, and elm. Hardwoods account for an estimated 71% of forests while the remaining 29% is comprised of conifers such as larch, spruce, pine, and fir. Conifers grow at an elevation abound of 6,000 feet while hardwoods grow at elevations of about 4,600 feet.

Arable Land

Arable land is among the nation’s most valuable resources. In the year 1989, an estimated two-thirds of the nation's territory was dedicated to agriculture. Approximately 19% of the agricultural land is dedicated to pasturage, 41% of the land was used for crop production, while 3% was utilized for orchard and vineyard. Soils in the country are generally fertile.

The Future Of Natural Resources In Romania's Economy

Romania is expected to be among the largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) hot-spots in Europe by the year 2020 alongside countries such as Turkey, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Serbia. Experts reckon that the nation’s natural resources coupled with low labor costs and privatization opportunities will be the main reasons why the nation will attract some of the highest FDI on the continent. Some of the natural resources expected to attract significant investment include nickel, iron ore, natural gas, copper, manganese, and zinc. The nation's economy is expected to grow at an average rate of 3% until the year 2025.

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