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A raw material is something that is acted upon or used by or by human labor or industry, for use as a building material to create some product or structure. Often the term is used to denote material that came from nature and is in an unprocessed or minimally processed state. Iron ore, logs, and crude oil, would be examples. A non-human related raw material would include twigs and found objects as used by birds to make nests.

In Marxian economics and some industries, the term is used in a distinct sense: raw material is a 'subject of labor', something that will be worked on by labor that has already undergone some alteration by labour. In other words it does not apply to materials in their entirely unprocessed state. Some examples are dimensional lumber, glass and steel.

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Simple English

Raw materials are materials that have not been processed. They are in the form in which they are found in nature without any thing done to them. Raw materials are made into other things.

Raw materials usually come from:

  • A plant or tree
  • An animal
  • A mine

Examples of raw materials:

Things that are not raw materials because they have been processed:


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