We explain what heavy industry is, where it is located, its characteristics and examples. In addition, differences with the light industry.
What is heavy industry?
Heavy industry or basic industry is the set of economic activities of extraction and primary transformation of the raw material . It manufactures the necessary inputs for other industries and in many cases it is the first step of the industrial production chain. This is distinguished from other industries such as light industry , typical of the secondary sector of the chain.
They are the productive activity that requires the greatest investment in capital , energy and labor , in addition to being generally the one that causes the greatest environmental impact , either directly or indirectly. Its name comes from the fact that its products are usually of large volume or size (such as machinery) and require huge facilities.
According to their areas of dedication, heavy industries can be classified into:
- Mining or extractive industries , which obtain raw materials directly from the environment, usually from the subsoil.
- Cement companies , producers of sediments of rock and other minerals, as well as mixtures of them.
- Iron and steel , which process non-ferrous metals and minerals to create alloys .
- Chemical industry , responsible for producing and processing chemical substances through controlled techniques.
Heavy industry characteristics
Heavy industry is one of the central economic activities of the world economy in the present times, and was fundamental for the technological take-off of humanity.
Nowadays this activity is carried out through processes with a high degree of mechanization and specialized labor. It consumes huge quotas of energy and leaving its mark on the environment , so it is an activity that has many detractors.
Heavy industries carry out tasks of different nature, which allow the raw material to be separated from the elements that naturally surround it, or transform it by physical or chemical procedures into some kind of useful and transportable substance. For this they can resort to smelting, freezing, washing, supercritical drying, liquefaction, etc.
Heavy industry examples
Some clear examples of heavy industries are:
- The mining industries , which capture and transport minerals with some desired chemical content (gold, silver, nickel, etc.), or hydrocarbons such as oil , natural gas or coal.
- The large steel companies , in charge of the smelting of heavy metals and their alloy to form steels, irons and other forms useful in the light industry.
- Cement , lime and grinding other materials to form dry mixtures used in the construction industry.
- The loggers , which cut down huge trees of useful or precious wood, that transport after having them demolished, cut and processed properly.
- The petrochemical industry , in which oil is refined and subjected to chemical procedures that allow it to obtain numerous derivatives, such as plastics , nylon , gasoline, etc.
Main countries with heavy industry
The main heavy industries on the planet correspond to the most developed nations on the planet, such as the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Russia and Germany , together with emerging nations such as Brazil.
However, many nations of the so-called Third World, whose economies depend mostly on the extraction and marketing of raw materials, invest more than anything in their basic industries. Among them are Venezuela, Nigeria, Peru, Chile, among others.
The light or light industry differs from the heavy or basic industry in that it is dedicated to the manufacture or production of consumer objects, objects that will go directly to the consumer . These industries usually belong to the secondary sector of the production chain. In general they are less intensive and ecologically risky than heavy industry.