Mining contributes less than one percent of Georgia’s overall economy as measured by the gross state product. However, several minerals are of national importance. Clays and clay products and stone are the most valuable minerals produced. Georgia ranks first among the states in kaolin output and second in the production of barite. Kaolin, a type of white clay used in making paper, paint, plastics, rubber, and hundreds of other products, is mined in great open pits near Macon and Augusta. One-fourth of the nations’s clay production–much of it kaolin–came from Georgia in the late 1990s. Mined and processed by multinational firms for the world market, Georgia’s clay is exported from the Port of Savannah. Fuller’s earth and ocher, both of which are used in refining vegetable and mineral oils, are also produced in great quantity. Georgia is among the nation’s leading producers of ocher and fuller’s earth. The marble is quarried near Tate City and Elberton. Georgia marble is a popular building material and widely used for gravestones. Georgia also quarries a considerable amount of granite for use as dimensional stone. Other valuable minerals include mica and bauxite. Some coal is mined in northwestern Georgia.
Manufacturing is the state’s leading economic activity. In 1996 the leading industrial activity, in terms of its contribution to income in the state, was the production of textiles, including the manufacture of apparel. The manufacture of transportation equipment, including automobiles and aircraft, also was important to the state. Other leading activities were food processing, the production of chemicals, paper and pulp milling, printing and publishing, lumber and wood production, and the manufacture of rubber and plastic items.
Georgia is a leading national producer of paper and board, tufted textile products, and processed chicken. Atlanta and Savannah are the major industrial centers, but a noteworthy feature of industry in Georgia is the dispersal of factories in small centers throughout the state.
Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Rome are the leading centers of the textile industry in Georgia. In addition, there are mills and factories in many smaller towns and cities throughout the state. In the early days of the textile industry, Georgia specialized in the production of coarse cloths, such as duck and drill. To those traditional lines have been added more specialized kinds of textiles. These include velvets, corduroys, denim, terry cloth, rugs, carpets, and synthetic fibers. Some woolen cloth is also produced. While many smaller textile plants closed in recent years, others have expanded. Employment levels have declined as production facilities have become more automated and require fewer workers.
A wide variety of foodstuffs is processed in Georgia. Among the leading processed food products are beverages, frozen shrimp, oven-ready broilers, canned vegetables and fruits, biscuits and crackers, peanut butter, pecan pralines, and other candy. Gainesville ranks among the leading poultry-processing centers. Brunswick is a leading center for the canning and freezing of seafood and vegetables. Savannah has large sugar refineries, and in Atlanta soft drinks and a variety of foodstuffs are produced. Local farm produce is processed in trade centers throughout the state.
There are shipyards and boatyards at Savannah and Brunswick, and two automobile assembly plants in the Atlanta area. At the large Lockheed-Georgia aircraft plant at Marietta, jet transports are manufactured for the United States Air Force. The manufacture of paper, paperboard, kraft paper (a paper made from wood pulp), and containers is centered chiefly in Atlanta, Savannah, and Macon. Chemical plants and related industrial facilities are located mainly in the Atlanta and the Savannah areas, as well as in other cities. The hardwood forests of the Blue Ridge province support a furniture industry in Toccoa. In addition, small wood-processing factories are scattered throughout the state’s forested areas. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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