Exploitation of natural resources, gold panning in Mozambique.Image credit nytimes.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources:Resource Exploitation

  • The exploitation of natural resources is the use of natural resources for economic growth, sometimes with a negative implication of accompanying environmental degradation.
  • It started to emerge on an industrial scale in the 19th century as the extraction and processing of raw materials such as in mining, steam power, and machinery developed much further than it had in pre-industrial eras.
  • During the 20th century, energy consumption rapidly increased

Factors influencing the exploitation of resources

Several factors that influence resources exploitation:

  • Technology availability.
  • Labour supply.
  • Physical accessibility.
  • Geological occurrence of minerals.
  • Climatic conditions that are prevalent at the location.
  • The size of the deposit and the quality of the resources.
  • Favourable world prices and demand.
  • Infrastructure development for example transport and power.
  • The cost of and on which developments will be made.
  • The cost of extraction.
  • Usefulness of the resources.
  • Government policy.
  • Political necessity that is, the need to be self-sufficient and the need to ensure guaranteed suppliers in a politically divided and unstable world.
  • The opinions of environmentalists.
  • Alternative supplies of the same resource.

Note: The significance of these factors varies from place to place and from time to time for example the environmental pressure groups are more powerful in developed countries than in developing countries. Lack of advanced technology retards resource exploitation in developing countries as compared to developed countries.

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