A raw material, also known as a feedstock or most correctly unprocessed material, is a basic material that is used to produce goods, finished products, energy, or intermediate materials which are feedstock for future finished products. As feedstock, the term connotes these materials are bottleneck assets and are highly important with regards to producing other products. An example of this is crude oil, which is a raw material and a feedstock used in the production of industrial chemicals, fuels, plastics, and pharmaceutical goods; lumber is a raw material used to produce a variety of products including furniture.
The term "raw material" denotes materials in minimally processed or unprocessed states; e.g., raw latex, crude oil, cotton, coal, raw biomass, iron ore, air, logs, or seawater. Raw materials are also used by non-humans, such as birds using found objects and twigs to create nests. The Havana Charter of the International Trade Organisation defined a "raw material" as "any product of agriculture, forestry, fishing and any other mineral that is in its natural form or which has undergone the transformation required to prepare it for internationally marketing in substantial volumes."
Africa has 30% of global reserves of non-energy mineral raw materials but this wealth has had a negative impact upon African countries. This phenomenon, known as "Dutch Disease" or the "resource curse", occurs when the economy of a country is mainly based upon its exports due to its method of governance. An example of this is the "geological scandal" of the Democratic Republic of Congo as it is rich in raw materials; the Second Congo War focused on controlling these raw materials.
- Wolf, Jakob (15 January 2010). Schnellkurs HGB-Jahresabschluss: Das neue Bilanzrecht: Richtig vorgehen — erfolgreich umstellen. Walhalla Fachverlag. p. 90. ISBN 978-3-8029-3436-0.
- Christophe Degryse, L'économie en 100 et quelques mots d'actualité, De Boeck, 2005, p. 140.
- Bernard Tchibambelela, Le commerce mondial de la faim: stratégie de rupture positive au Congo-Brazzaville, Éditions L'Harmattan, 2009, p. 183.
- Pascal Boniface, La géopolitique: Les relations internationales, Éditions Eyrolles et tout le monde s'en fou, 2011.