Mankind’s material well-being builds upon the use of resources from the world around us. These resources include, for example, water, metals and minerals from within the Earth, food and timber, and energy from e.g. the wind.
Sweden has major natural resource industries, including mining and forestry. The existence of these has stimulated the development of other industries in Sweden, such as the steel industry and thereby mechanical engineering companies, and the paper industry. Global economic development has led to increasing demand for such raw materials, resulting in increased price levels. This has stimulated major investment in this sector, with many new industrial developments.
Further positive development of the sector demands better understanding of the natural resources themselves, better methods for their exploration and exploitation, including processing and use of these resources without unacceptable environmental loads, and environmental monitoring in order to confirm that this is being achieved. The Earth Sciences have a central role in a host of relevant sectors, including prospecting, mining, water and pollution management, and via hydrology, meteorology and geochemistry many aspects of agriculture and forestry. Ongoing research includes the development in collaboration with industry of new prospecting methodologies, environmental monitoring, and a range of issues relating to water and land-use. Several education programs of direct relevance to natural resources are offered, including geology, geophysics, aquatic and environmental engineering, and physical geography.