Do you know which countries have the most natural resources in the world? Natural resources, such as oil, gas, minerals, and timber, are quite valuable to many nations.
They can provide a source of income for those who possess them or even geopolitical power. But what are the top 10 countries that have the most natural resources at their disposal?
The 10 countries with the most valuable natural resources
The following are the countries with the most valuable natural resources:
Key natural resources: Coal, oil, gas, gold, and timber
The net worth of natural resources: $75.7 trillion
Russia is one of the world’s wealthiest countries in natural resources, with large reserves of iron ore, manganese, chromium, nickel, platinum, titanium, and other minerals. The forests of Siberia contain one-fifth of the world’s timber. Russia also boasts a wealth of nonfuel minerals and has been self-sufficient in industrial raw materials. 95.7% of its national wealth comes from natural resources, primarily oil, and gas.
It is the world leader in gas reserves and production, second in oil production, and has significant coal reserves. Russia is also one of the richest countries in gold reserves. Despite this wealth, its per capita income is still only a quarter more than that of OECD countries.
2. United States
Key resources: Copper, oil, natural gas, and gold
The net worth of resources: $45 trillion
The United States is rich in natural resources, including land, water, oil, and coal, and has a diverse population. The Southwest relies on the Central Arizona Project canals to transport water, while Alberta has the world’s largest reservoir of heavy crude oil.
Additionally, the country is characterized by its diverse population and contributes to economic and social development with its highly educated workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This has helped to drive innovation and economic growth in the US.
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3. Saudi Arabia
Key resources: Timber, natural gas, and oil
The net worth of resources: $34.4 trillion
Saudi Arabia is renowned for its vast natural resources, boasting the largest exporter of crude oil in the world, with 17% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has 240 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and significant deposits of minerals such as feldspar, gypsum, salt, mica, sulphur, tantalum, and niobium.
The total value of its natural resources is valued at $34.4 trillion, with the government encouraging foreign investment in the energy sector. Maaden, a Saudi mining company, is currently undertaking projects to exploit mineral-rich sediments on the Red Sea floor and process phosphate from the north.
Key resources: Oil, natural gas, timber, uranium, and phosphate
Net worth of resources: $33.2 trillion
Canada has abundant natural resources which contribute significantly to its economy. In 2021, energy sources made up the majority (53%) of Canada’s natural wealth, followed by minerals (28%) and timber (19%). The value of these reserves increased by 149% in 2021 due to higher crude oil and mineral prices.
Canada’s petroleum reserves are the third-largest in the world, with most of its oil being produced in Alberta. Additionally, the country has the fifth-largest coal reserves. While natural resources are essential for economic growth, they can also have negative impacts on the environment and the rights of local and Indigenous people. Therefore, land-use plans and laws must be implemented to protect these resources while also utilising satellite imaging technologies.
Key resources: Natural gas and oil
Net worth of resources: $27.3 trillions
Iran is a country with abundant resources, including oil, gas, coal, and various minerals. It has the second-largest proven reserves of natural gas in the world and the fourth-largest proven reserves of crude oil. Apart from petroleum, other important resources include pistachio nuts and food products.
The Iranian economy is mainly composed of hydrocarbon, agricultural, and service industries. It also has a strong presence in the manufacturing, financial services, petrochemicals, fertilizers, car parts, electronics, and telecoms sectors. Iran is one of the top 10 countries for the production of agricultural products and is close to achieving total food security.
Key natural resources: Timber and coal
Net worth of natural resources: $23 trillions
China is home to an estimated $23 trillion worth of natural resources, including coal, rare earth metals, timber, arable land, iron ore, gold, bauxite, hydropower, and diamonds. It has the world’s largest reserves of antimony and tin, and it is also a major producer of aluminum, magnesium, and other minerals.
The country invests billions in the geological exploration of resources, primarily oil, and gas, which are mainly located in the Northeast or Northwestern provinces. Coal reserves are among the largest in the world, but their output is expensive and mostly used for domestic consumption. China’s resources have enabled economic growth, but its large population and uneven distribution of these resources continue to pose challenges.
Key natural resources: Gold and uranium
The net worth of natural resources: $21.8 trillion
Brazil is a country with an abundance of resources, including minerals, forests, and freshwater bodies. It is the world’s top producer of tin, iron ore, and phosphate and holds large reserves of diamonds, manganese, chromium, copper, and bauxite.
The country has significant potential for hydropower production in South America. Its impressive forests account for between one-sixth and one-seventh of the global forest coverage. Brazil is also home to a wide variety of animal and plant species, which has led to the creation of numerous Conservation Units that serve as symbols of biodiversity.
Key nresources: Coal, copper, iron ore, and timber
Net worth of resources: $19.9 trillion
Australia is a world leader in mining, with over 350 operating mines producing 19 valuable minerals, including bauxite, iron ore, lithium, rare earth elements, gold, lead, diamond and mineral sands. It is also the largest exporter of coal and natural gas and has abundant reserves of industrial minerals such as clays, mica and salt.
Additionally, the country is a major producer of wool and opal and New Zealand, within the Oceania region, has coal, silver, iron ore, limestone and gold deposits. The Pacific Islands have metal deposits but high oil and gas costs limit their development.
Key resources: Natural gas & oil
The net worth of resources: $15.9 trillion
Iraq is a country that has rich natural resources, including 143 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 137 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. It also possesses wide plains suitable for agricultural activity and renewable groundwater sources.
However, despite these resources, it has been affected by years of conflict, political instability, corruption and the OPEC+ agreement which led to production cuts in 2020, resulting in a deep economic crisis. Nevertheless, oil production rose by 1.7 million barrels per day between 2013 and 2019, reaching an all-time high of 4.7 million barrels per day in 2019.
Key resources: Iron, natural gas and oil
The net worth of resources: $14.3 trillion
Venezuela is an oil-rich nation, boasting the largest reserves in the world. Oil accounts for 95% of its exports and government revenue, while natural gas and other minerals such as gold, diamonds, coal, aluminum, copper and nickel also contribute to the economy. The country is a founding member of OPEC.
Agriculture has not been as prominent since the discovery of oil, and the electricity sector depends mainly on hydropower. The country is also home to Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world.
Despite its abundance of natural resources, it has been facing an economic crisis since 2014 due to corruption, mismanagement and sanctions imposed by foreign countries like the United States. Hyperinflation, and food and medicine shortages have become pervasive. The crisis has been particularly hard on poorer regions of Venezuela.
Countries with most natural resources, what do they have in common
Natural resources are essential to the survival of any nation. They provide the necessary materials for industry and manufacturing, as well as a source of energy and food. While each country has an abundance of its own resources, there are some nations that stand out among others in terms of their abundance of natural resources.
By looking at these top 10 countries with the most natural resources, it’s easy to see why they are so important for the global economy. With their rich supply of resources, these countries will likely remain powerful and influential in the years ahead.
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