South America is rich in natural resources of all kinds.
Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru produce petroleum products.
Brazil has tin, iron ore, and manganese mines. Tin is also mined in Bolivia.
Bauxite, an ore used to make aluminum, comes from mines in Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname.
Chile is the world’s top producer of copper and is the only country in the world with deposits of sodium nitrate, used to make fertilizer. Peru is known for its copper, lead, and zinc mines.
Most of the world’s emeralds come from mines in Colombia, which also has rich deposits of coal.
Fishing also helps to support the economies of Peru and Chile. Forest products are important to Brazil.
Even with all of this natural wealth, most people in South America are poor.
Although the middle class is growing, the people with money are those who own factories, mines, and large farms and ranches. The richest country is Argentina, and the poorest is Guyana.
Almost all the carnations and about one-third of the roses sold in the United States are grown in Colombia.