At the moment when the USSR collapsed, industry formed the basis of the Belarusian economy.

 Belarus is poorly endowed with natural resources. Potassium salts constitute the second largest deposit in Europe, and Belarus used to produce half the total output of the USSR.

There are small deposits of oil and natural gas, brown coal, limestone, dolomite, marl, phosphate, and ferrous and non-ferrous metals, but these meet only a small proportion of domestic demand.

Because of the scarcity of natural resources, Belarus is extremely dependent on imports. The major supplier has been Russia, which accounts for 90 per cent of gas and oil imports to Belarus.

When the Soviet Union fell, industry formed the basis of the Belarusian economy. In 1990, it made up almost 50 per cent of GDP, making Belarus one of the most heavily industrialised countries in the world.

The share of industry has since declined in the country’s total domestic output: in 2010 it accounted for 44 per cent of GDP employing about 30 per cent of the population (Belstat, 2011). The important branches include fuel, chemical, petrochemical and machine-building industries.