10 countries with the most natural resources

Craig Anthony

Natural resources, or commodities, are the raw inputs that are used to manufacture and produce all of the products in the world. Commodities themselves, which include those extracted from the earth and those that have yet to be extracted, are worth trillions of dollars. Here are the top 10 countries with the most natural resources and their total estimated value, according to World Atlas [1].

10: Australia

Australia earns U.S.$19.9 trillion from mining, and it is number 10 on the list. Australia is known for its large reserves of coal, timber, copper, iron ore, nickel, oil shale and rare earth metals and mining is the primary industry. Australia is also one of the leaders in uranium and gold mining. The country has the largest gold reserves in the world, and it supplies over 14% of the world’s gold demand and 46% of the world’s uranium demand. Australia is the top producer of opal and aluminum. The country is about 80% the size of the United States.

9. Democratic Republic of Congo

Mining is the primary industry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also. In 2009, the DRC has over $24 million in mineral deposits including the largest coltan reserve and huge amounts of cobalt. The DRC also has large copper, diamond, gold, tantalum and tin reserves, and over a million tons of lithium as estimated by the American geological survey. In 2011, according to the latest data, there were over 25 international mining firms in the DRC.

8: Venezuela

This South American country has an estimated $14.3 trillion worth of natural resources. It is the leading exporter of bauxite, coal, gold, iron ore and oil. The country's oil reserves are greater than those of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Venezuela is the third largest producer of coal after Brazil and Colombia. It also has the eighth largest reserves of natural gas accounting for 2.7% of the global supply. Venezuela also has the second-largest reserves of gold deposits.

7. The United States

Mining is a primary industry in the United States. In 2015, total metal and coal reserves in the country were estimated to be $109.6 billion. The United States is the leading producer of coal and has been for decades, and it accounts for just over 30% of global coal reserves and has huge amounts of timber. Total natural resources for the United States are approximately $45 trillion, almost 90% of which are timber and coal. Other resources include substantial copper, gold, oil and natural gas deposits.

6. Brazil

Brazil has commodities worth $21.8 trillion including gold, iron, oil and uranium. The mining industry focuses on bauxite, copper, gold, iron and tin. Brazil has the largest gold and uranium deposits in the world, and is the second largest oil producer. However, timber is the most valuable natural resource, and the nation accounts for over 12.3% of the world's timber supplies.

5: Russia

Russia's total estimated natural resources are worth $75 trillion. The country has the biggest mining industry in the world producing mineral fuels, industrial minerals and metals. Russia is a leading producer of aluminum, arsenic, cement, copper, magnesium metal and compounds, nitrogen, palladium, silicon and vanadium. The nation is the second-largest exporter of rare earth minerals.

4. India

India's mining sector contributes 11% of the country's industrial GDP and 2.5% of total GDP. The mining and metal industry was worth over $104.6 billion in 2010. The nation's coal reserves are the fourth largest in the world. India's other natural resources include bauxite, chromite, diamonds, limestone, natural gas, petroleum and titanium ore. India provides over 12% of global thorium, over 60% of global mica production and is the leading producer of manganese ore.

3. Canada

Third on the list of countries with the most natural resources is Canada. Overall, the country has an estimated $33.2 trillion worth of commodities and the third largest oil deposits after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. The commodities that the country owns include industry minerals, such as gypsum, limestone, rock salt and potash, and energy minerals, such as coal and uranium. Metals in Canada include copper, lead, nickel and zinc, and precious metals are gold, platinum and silver. Canada is the leading supplier of natural gas and phosphate and is the third largest exporter of timber.

2: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has 20% of the world's oil reserves, second in the world. Oil was discovered here in 1938, and the nation has been a leading oil exporter ever since with its economy depending on oil exports. It also has the sixth-largest natural gas reserves and large amounts of timber. Overall, the country has about $34.4 trillion worth of natural resources. Saudi Arabia's other natural resources include copper, feldstar, phosphate, silver, sulfur, tungsten and zinc. Saudi Arabia is a small country, the size of Alaska.

1: China

China is number one on the list for having the most natural resources estimated to be worth $23 trillion. Ninety percent of resources are coal and rare earth metals. However, timber is another major natural resource of China. Other resources that China produces are antimony, coal, gold, graphite, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, tin, tungsten, vanadium and zinc. China is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, cobalt, copper, manganese and silver. It also has chromium, gem diamond and timber.

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