Warstein has developed significantly due to an old successful mining industry. Evidence of iron smelting in Warstein goes back to the later Iron Age (around 600 BC). This history has been documented on the "Warsteiner Weg der Montangeschichte" (Warstein Trail of Mining History), which runs here, with 18 stations and 33 panels along a length of 8 km from the Hillenberg waterworks in southern Warstein to Stütings Mühle in Belecke. The plaques are located at the places where the operations were or still are today.

At all times, iron processing has shaped the appearance of this town, but also its population, which has always adapted to developments. Even today, two thirds of the 9000 jobs in Warstein are connected with this industry and subsequent industries (electrical and power electronics).