Romania Table of Contents
Romania possesses commercial deposits of a wide range of metallic ores, including iron, manganese, chrome, nickel, molybdenum, aluminum, zinc, copper, tin, titanium, vanadium, lead, gold, and silver. The development of these reserves was a key element of the country's industrialization after World War II. To exploit the ores, the government built numerous mining and enrichment centers, whose output in turn was delivered to the country's large and ever-expanding metallurgical and machinebuilding industries.
The major known iron ore deposits are found in the PoianaRusca Mountains (a spur of the Transylvanian Alps) and the Banat, Dobruja, and the Harghita Mountains (in the Eastern Carpathians). Though commercially significant, these deposits were unable to satisfy the huge new steel mills that were the centerpiece of Romania's industrial modernization after the mid-1960s. Indeed, by 1980 Romania had to import more than 80 percent of its iron ore. Some experts predicted that domestic iron ore resources would be exhausted by the early 1990s.
Most of the nonferrous metal reserves are concentrated in the northwest, particularly in the Maramures Mountains (in the Eastern Carpathians) and the Apuseni Mountains (in the Western Carpathians). The Maramures range contains important deposits of polymetallic sulfides--from which copper, lead, and zinc are obtained--and certain precious metals. The Apuseni range holds silver and some of the richest gold deposits in Europe. Major copper, lead, and zinc deposits also have been discovered in the Bistrita Mountains, the Banat, and Dobruja. Bauxite is mined in the Oradea area in northwestern Transylvania. Although new mines to extract these ores continued to be developed throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the proclaimed goal of self-sufficiency in nonferrous metals by 1985 was unrealistic, considering that in 1980 foreign sources supplied 73 percent of the zinc, 40 percent of the copper, and 23 percent of the lead consumed by Romanian industry.
The country also has commercial reserves of other minerals, which are processed by a large chemical industry that barely existed before World War II. The inorganic chemical industry exploits sulfur obtained as a metallurgical by-product or refined from gypsum, an abundant mineral. There are large deposits of pure salt at Slanic, TÓrgu Ocna, and Ocna Mures. Caustic soda, soda ash, chlorine, sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, and phosphate fertilizers are among the chemical products based on domestic raw materials.
Data as of July 1989