Basic Industry: Characteristics, Types and Examples of Products

The basic industry , also called base, is the industry that is responsible for obtaining and transforming raw materials from its most primary phase and, in this way, create semi-finished products that later other industries will use in the production of final goods destined for consumption.

Generally they are heavy industries, since they consume very large quantities of raw materials. In addition, this type of industry usually requires very high capital investments, given the amount of resources that are responsible for transforming.

Basic industry


  • 1 characteristics
    • 1.1 Raw Materials
    • 1.2 Semi-finished products
    • 1.3 Big investments, less competition
    • 1.4 Highly qualified staff
    • 1.5 Environmental impact
  • 2 Types of basic industries
    • 2.1 Extractive industries
    • 2.2 Steel industries
    • 2.3 Metallurgical industries
    • 2.4 Chemical industries
  • 3 References


In relation to this type of industry there are some aspects to take into account. Despite the great variety of products and services that come from the basic industries, there are certain common characteristics:

Raw Materials

The vast majority of these industries are characterized by working from the different raw materials in their initial phase.

Semi-finished products

The basic industries are in charge of producing semi-finished products, so that other industries can then use them to manufacture the final products.

Big investments, less competition

These industries are dedicated to producing heavy machinery and, therefore, the initial investment is very high. Very few companies are interested in entering this type of industry (or can not afford it), with which competition is scarce.

Highly qualified staff

While other simpler industries can survive and function with personnel of all skill levels, in these types of industries workers must be highly trained to be able to function efficiently.

Environmental impact

Due to the amount of waste they generate, whether they are gases released into the air or wastes that end up in rivers, these industries are the ones that can create the most danger in the environmental field.

Types of basic industries

The basic industries are very numerous; however, we can divide them into extractive, iron and steel, metallurgical and chemical.

Extractive industries

The extractive industries are responsible for, as the name suggests, extract raw materials directly from nature. In this group are industries such as mining, oil or wood.

Mining industry

Mining is the industry dedicated to extracting minerals that are directly in the ground or the subsoil.

It can be divided into metallic and non-metallic or quarry mining. Metal mining is generally used for the production and manufacture of industrial products, while quarrying is often used for construction materials, decoration, etc.

Examples of minerals (metallic mining):

- Gold.

- Silver.

- Copper.

- Lead.

Examples of minerals (non-metallic mining):

- Granite

- Marble

- Clay.

- Esmeralda.

- Sapphire.

Oil industry

This large industry is dedicated to extracting and exploiting oil, a raw material that is not renewable and is widely used for the production of various goods, such as plastics or fuels such as gasoline. This industry divides its action into three phases:

- Upstream, dedicated to the search and production of oil.

- Midstream, the part dedicated to transport, process and store oil.

- Downstream, the final part, which is the one that refines, sells and distributes oil.

Despite its great utility and economic benefits for certain countries, this industry also has its risks. As it is an insoluble liquid, its cleaning costs a lot of work, and its combustion releases some gases harmful to the environment, such as carbon dioxide (CO). 2 ).

Timber and paper industry

This industry is dedicated to the processing of wood: from its extraction (through the planting and felling of trees) to its subsequent transformation into products that will be used to produce goods such as furniture or paper.

Examples of products

- Cellulose

- Construction material (wood)

Steel industries

The iron and steel industry is responsible for extracting the iron ore for further treatment. In this way they create a wide variety of alloys from this material for later use in various industries.

One of the most common alloys produced by these industries is steel (iron alloy and carbon). The production of this material is very complex and is carried out in the so-called integral steel mills and steel mills, plants dedicated exclusively to their production.

Examples of products

- Irons.

- Steel tubes.

- Beams.

- Railroad rails.

- Pipelines.

Metallurgical industries

This industry is responsible for obtaining metals from metallic minerals. Unlike steel, metallurgy also applies to other minerals, not only iron (copper, aluminum, titanium, bronze, among others).

The production process is similar to steelmaking, but working a wider range of minerals, so we could say that the steel industry is a metallurgical company specializing in iron and steel.

Examples of products

- Tin plates.

- Zinc alloys.

- Copper pieces.

- Aluminum sheets.

- Bronze pieces

Chemical industries

Within the chemical industries, the one that belongs to the group of basic industries is the basic chemical industry. This is responsible for the transformation of natural raw materials into substances necessary for other industries, such as gases or chemical solutions.

The other part of the chemical industry is that of transformation, which is responsible for making the products for final consumption. In this are fertilizers, pesticides and medicines, among others.

Therefore, substances produced by the basic chemical industries are essential for industries such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics or food.

Examples of substances

- Methanol.

- Hydrochloric acid.

- Sulfuric acid.

- Acetylene.

- Ethylene.

- Nitric acid.


  1. Encyclopedia of Examples "Heavy industry". (2017).
  2. Margueron, Jean-Claude (2002). " The metals used and their geographical origin " The Mesopotamians . Madrid: Chair.
  3. Spanish Association of Operators of Petroleum Products
  4. Parry, Robert W. (1973). Chemistry: experimental foundations . Reverte p. 703
  5. Hartman, Howard L. (1992). SME Mining Engineering Handbook . Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc.

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