raw material

noun
material before being processed or manufactured into a final form.

Origin:
1790–1800

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
raw material
 
n
1.  material on which a particular manufacturing process is carried out
2.  a person or thing regarded as suitable for some particular purpose: raw material for the army

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Individual variation is the raw material on which natural selection operates.
Yes, the raw material is free, and peer reviewers are volunteers.
Smaller than popcorn kernels, these are the raw material from which plastic
  objects are made.
Winds also contributed raw material, the makings of sandstone layers hundreds
  of feet thick.
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