The mining of bituminous coal, once important in southwestern Virginia, has declined since the early 1990s. Because of the high cost of mining coal in the Appalachians, much of U.S. coal mining has moved to Western states. Extractions of crushed stone, sand and gravel, cement, and lime are also valuable. Virginia is the country’s only producer of kyanite, a mineral used in the production of bricks and high-temperature clays.
The processing of agricultural goods from Virginia’s farms is the state’s leading manufacturing sector, according to the value of its production. Leading employers include plants processing broilers and eggs for market, meat-packing plants, companies making prepared meat products, and bakeries. Harrisonburg is a center for poultry processing, Winchester for apple processing, and Smithfield for meat products. Next in value is the manufacture of chemicals and associated products, including plastics and rubber.
The manufacturing of transportation equipment also contributes to Virginia’s economy. Leading components of the transportation industry are shipbuilding and ship repairing, primarily conducted in the Newport News and Norfolk-Portsmouth areas, and the manufacture of motor vehicle parts. The assembly of motor vehicles themselves is also a leading industrial employer.
Northern Virginia has many telecommunications and computer firms handling the flow of information in and out of Washington, D.C. The northern Virginia area is part of a complex of high-technology firms sometimes called the Netplex.
Major centers for commercial fishing in Virginia are Hampton-Norfolk, Chincoteague, and Cape Charles-Oyster, and the state has many other commercial-fishing communities, especially along the Tidewater shore in eastern Virginia. The most valuable part of the catch is shellfish, particularly sea scallops, hard- and soft-shelled blue crabs, and oysters. "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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