Hungary's economy and, in particular, its industrial development have been closely connected with and largely based upon the utilization of domestic mineral wealth. Until 1919, this wealth included the fuels, metallic ores, and other mineral deposits of Transylvania, the Banat, and Slovakia, much of which were processed in Budapest, and in the Magyar core of the then Hungarian state. As a result of the territorial losses imposed by the Trianon Treaty, the mineral resources of Hungary shrank very considerably. During the interwar period, systematic surveying led to the discovery of huge resources of bauxite and less abundant reserves of oil, natural gas, and manganese ore. Since World War II, prospecting has been continued with even more energy. Under the second Five-Year Plan, 1956-60, investments for geological research will reach 2.5 billion forints, a sum surpassing that budgeted for either light industries or the food industry; three quarters of the total industrial investment are earmarked for the exploration and exploitation of sources of energy and other natural resources. Among these, mineral wealth plays a most prominent part.
These decisions reflect both the relative paucity of Hungarian mining resources and the determination of the regime to use all these resources now. By granting the highest priority to processing domestic mineral wealth, the regime plans to develop the production of many substitutes for the raw materials brought from abroad and thus to halt, or at least to limit, the increase of such imports.
In 1956, Hungary could be described as sufficiently endowed with fuels and building materials. However, with the exception of bauxite and manganese ore, there are insufficient supplies of metallic ores, and almost no raw materials for the inorganic chemical industry. More coal, oil, and bauxite deposits may be discovered, but the discovery of important metallic deposits, except for bauxite, is much less likely, since they have been sought by several generations of geologists.