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ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Iron and Steel Industry:Advantages of iron and steel industries

  • Many advantages accrue to a country as a result of establishing its own iron and steel works.

Industrial growth

  • Iron and steel works are themselves industries, so establishing more of these means industrial growth.
  • The amount of steel produced has been used as a measure of a country’s level of industrial development with the big ones such as the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Russia leading the pack.
  • Iron and steel are the basis of most industries such as car assembly, agricultural equipment, household utensils and goods, the construction, transport and electrical industries.
  • This creation of spin-off ancillary industries is called the multiplier effect.
  • For example, if there was no ZISCO in Zimbabwe, we would not be having industries such as Lancashire steel (a direct subsidiary of ZISCO getting steel blooms and wire from the parent company), Tor Structures, Industrial pipe and fittings, Zimbabwe Wire and Rope Company (ZWR), Salwire and ZIMCAST.
  • This makes goods readily available locally.

Employment creation

  • Iron and steelworks employ many people directly on site.
  • These work as fitter and turners, boiler makers, metallurgists, sinters, managers and plant operators as well as machine tool conditioners.
  • Others are employed as cleaners and drivers.
  • If employment includes those working in coal, iron ore and limestone mines all the way to those in related industries stated above, then the number is large indeed.

Foreign currency earnings

  • A country producing excess iron and steel will sell these on foreign markets, earning foreign currency in the process.

Urban growth

  • Where huge integrated iron and steel work have been established, towns also grow.
  • Redcliff in Zimbabwe grew as a result of building the ZISCO works there.

Social services

  • With urban growth, social services are supplied to the labour force and residents of the area.
  • These include, for ZISCO, residential suburbs like Rutendo, Torwood and Redcliff, schools, hospitals and clinics in the area, pubs, beer halls, hotels and ZISCO country club as well as golf courses, soccer for teams like ZISCOSTEEL, all meant to make life bearable to the people settled there.

Raising living standards of local people

  • As people are employed and earn wages and salaries and live in houses of bricks and mortar,  and their houses are electrified, with tap water and flush toilets, their living standards are raised.

Improvement in transport

  • The assembling of distant and local raw materials for steel works requires the establishment of efficient means of transport.
  • Likewise the distribution of iron and steel products to market needs similar transport.
  • In the end such transport routes and modes available will not just be utilized by the iron and steel works only but also by other sectors of the economy and by the people themselves.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page