ECONOMY: MINERAL RESOURCES AND INDUSTRY
The mining sector is of little importance: to report the pyrites (which are extracted in the Serra de Caveira) and the tungsten (in the mines of Bejanca, Lagares, Borralheira, Montesinhos and Gaia); In addition, various metallic minerals such as gold (in Campo de Jales), silver, manganese, iron ores, lead, zinc, uranium, etc. are also extracted, but in very modest quantities. Particularly inadequate is the energy sector (the coal fields of Setúbal and Figueira da Foz are completely inadequate), which for some time has started an intense exploitation of hydroelectric potential. One of the main water works was built on the Zêzere River, which collects the waters of the Serra da Estrêla and supplies electricity to the industrial area of Lisbon. It was precisely the increase in electricity that allowed the start of the modern industrialization of the country, giving the possibility of combining traditional processes (textiles, food, etc.) new activities, for example in the steel, metallurgical and chemical sectors; however Portugal is forced to pay a high toll for the growing import of oil, which is also necessary for the strengthening of production structures.
According to ethnicityology, Portuguese industry has long remained within the limits of pure and simple processing of agricultural products, such as not to require skilled labor or advanced technological processes; facilitated until recently by the easy influx of raw materials from African possessions (even if in truth scarcely exploited), it had nevertheless remained, due to the autarchic policy of the Salazarian regime, on the margins of the radical changes in the productive field that in the meantime were being implemented in the Economically developed countries, with all the disadvantages and the few possible advantages that could derive from such political closure. The industries that mark the modern face of a country – generally the high-tech ones – are still in an initial phase and have a rather weak impact, despite some progress essentially due to the intervention of foreign capital (among the most significant the petrochemical complex and the oil refinery set up in the development area of Sines, in Lisbon, and which became operational in 1979). Of particular importance is the textile industry, which boasts an ancient tradition; in first place are the cotton mills, whose distribution shows a marked concentration N of the Douro (Vila Nova de Famalição, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto); the wool mills appear more dispersed, although they are present with quite numerous centers in the central regions of the country, between the Mondego and the Tagus. On the coast (in Leixões, Seixal, Villacova), on the other hand, steel and metallurgical plants are generally located, producing steel, cast iron and ferroalloys, then copper, tin, aluminum, etc.; In the area between Lisbon and Setúbal there are various chemical and petrochemical complexes from which, in addition to the refining of imported crude oil, nitrogen fertilizers, sulfuric and nitric acid etc are obtained; finally, the mechanical industry, present in the areas around Porto and Lisbon, is mainly made up of installations for the assembly of cars and commercial vehicles. In Lisbon and Porto there are rubber factories and south of the capital there is a large car factory, born from one joint_venture between Ford and Volskwagen. A fair range of products supplies the food industry (represented by oil mills, sugar refineries, fish and vegetable canneries, breweries, etc.); the glass, rubber, paper, leather and footwear industries and cement factories also play a role of some importance. Plastic processing, electronics and the manufacture of precision instruments were only introduced at the end of the 20th century. Among the minor industries, embroideries, laces and ceramics have a great reputation, in particular the elegant tiles, called azulejos, in whose decorations the blue color predominates.
If we exclude the areas that gravitate around the two main centers of Lisbon and Porto, internal trade is generally modest and not very articulated, due to an overall rather low standard of living and a widespread tendency towards a self-consumption economy.. Exports mainly concern motor vehicles, electrical and electronic material, clothing and cotton fabrics, wine, processed cork, machinery, canning products (sardines, tomatoes, etc.), paper and chemical wood pulp; imports are mainly represented by machinery and means of transport, oil and other fuels, chemicals and semi-finished products, cereals and other foodstuffs. The exchange essentially takes place with Spain, Germany and France; exports amounted to approx. two thirds of imports. However, the monetary contribution deriving from the emigrants’ remittances is considerable. The stock exchanges are based in Lisbon and Porto, while the central bank is Banco do Portugal, in addition to numerous national and foreign credit institutions.One of the main obstacles to the development of the country is undoubtedly the system of communication routes. insufficient. The road and rail networks clearly indicate the presence of two large poles of attraction at national level, Lisbon and Porto, from which the various arteries leading to the Atlantic ports with less traffic and to some centers with a regional function branch off (such as to which are added numerous national and foreign credit institutions. One of the main obstacles to the development of the country is undoubtedly the system of communication routes, which is still insufficient. The road and rail networks clearly indicate the presence of two large poles of attraction at national level, Lisbon and Porto, from which the various arteries leading to the Atlantic ports with less traffic and to some centers with a regional function branch off (such as to which are added numerous national and foreign credit institutions. One of the main obstacles to the development of the country is undoubtedly the system of communication routes, which is still insufficient. The road and rail networks clearly indicate the presence of two large poles of attraction at national level, Lisbon and Porto, from which the various arteries leading to the Atlantic ports with less traffic and to some centers with a regional function branch off (such as Braga, Coimbra, Évora and Faro) and which connect to E with the Spanish road system. The railways, nationalized in 1975, have a particularly modest (about 2500 km in 2017) and uneven development; in addition, about fifty kilometers of private railways (belonging to mining companies) are in operation, generally using rather poor equipment and machinery. Road arteries are largely represented by secondary roads, but motorway networks are growing. However, maritime and river communications are active in the terminal sections of the major waterways. The merchant fleet is still modest, to be heir to the centuries-old traditions of a people of navigators. International traffic is carried out almost exclusively by sea: the port of Lisbon absorbs a large part of the commercial movement. Air communications, finally, they still have little importance within the country, while international connections are very active, especially as regards the transit movement towards Central and South America, as well as with West Africa. The main airport is the international airport of Lisbon, followed by those of Porto, Faro, Ponta Delgada and Funchal (the national airline is TAP, Transportes Aéros Portugueses), flanked for internal flights by Portugalia, which unites all the main cities. The tourism sector is in constant growth, and has received an important boost from the Expo ’98, held in the capital Lisbon, and subsequently from the European football championships (2004) which were played in the Lusitanian country. The favorite destinations for visitors are primarily the capital Lisbon, the southern region of the Algarve (whose coasts are particularly popular with tourists from the Nordic countries) and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. Among the most interesting and characteristic places we can mention the monastery of the girolamini (Jeronimos) and the Belém tower in Lisbon, the historic centers of Evora, Porto (Sé cathedral, Ribeira historic center) and Guimarães and Sintra (near Lisbon).