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Natural Resources

Profit From our Natural Resources

Natural attraction.

South Carolina's climate combined with nine river systems, large tracts of woodlands and untapped mineral deposits is a natural attraction for industry and business development.

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While South Carolina is proud of its environment, it is realistic in balancing the need to develop its economy in a way consistent with progressive environmental management.

The state works hand-in-hand with nature for proven results

  • The air quality ranks among the highest in the nation
  • The EPA classifies the entire state as "in attainment"
  • The 9 major rivers assimilate well-treated liquid effluent to meet federal wastewater treatment requirements
  • The mild climate permits year-round treatment of wastewater outdoors
  • And the state is well qualified to manage hazardous waste materials

Agriculture is always in season in South Carolina. A mild, subtropical climate, abundant ground water and a long growing season allow the farmers to have double harvests.

Leading agricultural crops produced in South Carolina, include:

  • corn
  • cotton
  • dairy products
  • fruits and vegetables
  • meat
  • soybeans


The total economic impact of South Carolina's forest industry is more than $17 Billion annually. And with a delivered value of just under $800 million, its no wonder timber continues to be the largest cash crop in South Carolina.

The forest Industry in South Carolina:

  • Employs more than 35,500 people
  • Contributes more than $1.6 billion in sales annually to the state's economy
  • Hosts over 320 secondary wood products companies that make windows, doors, millwork, sporting goods and other products
  • Comprise over 5 million acres of forestland between softwoods and hardwoods
  • The loblolly pine is the major softwood, produced primarily as pulpwood. In 2000, the paper industry invested more than $180 million in new plants and equipment for the production of various grades of paper and related products.

For full Timber industry statistics, click here.


The same bountiful coastal and fresh waters that attract tourists, recreational sportsmen and developers provide ample resources for the cultured fish and shellfish industries.

South Carolina has over 630,000 acres of bays and estuaries along the coast, with over 67% of these waters approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for culturing and harvesting seafood. The state's aquaculture industry produces catfish, striped bass, crawfish, clams, shrimp and oysters.

The aquaculture industry receives substantial technical support in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources operates one of the most sophisticated mariculture centers in the world, the Waddell Mariculture Center located near Hilton Head Island. In addition, Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offices throughout the state help emerging aquaculturists apply the latest techniques and technologies needed to succeed.

Water, water everywhere, enough to aid in economic growth:

• With average discharge rates and 7Q10 levels The Santee, Pee Dee and the Savannah rivers can support industrial uses

• Winyah Bay Charleston Harbor, Port Royal Sound and Tybee Roads are home to ports that connect South Carolina's imports and exports to the world

• Lakes created by damming these rivers for hydroelectric power production also provide popular recreational resources across the state.

In recent years, nonfuel mineral production has reached record levels in South Carolina. Of the state's 46 counties, 44 have active mining operations yielding thirteen minerals from 486 mines. This number includes four gold mines, one of which is the largest gold mine in the eastern US.

Cement, aggregate and clay are the leading minerals extracted in South Carolina