Ken Research announced its latest publication on,’Global Zinc Mining to 2020’, which provides detailed information on the market trends in the Zinc industry. In addition, the report contains an overview of the global zinc mining industry together with the key factors affecting the industry and demand for the commodity. It also provides information about global zinc reserves, the historic and forecast data on zinc production, prices and zinc smelters by major companies, refined zinc consumption, the competitive landscape and active, exploration and development zinc projects.
The global zinc mining industry has recorded steady growth, supported by demand from the construction and automobile sectors. Additionally, Industrialization and urbanization have supported the demand for zinc, as well as the increasing population in the Asia Pacific region.
As in the 18th century, it was discovered that sphalerite, or zinc sulfide, could be smelted into brass, resulting in the first patented techniques. Since then, the zinc industry has progressed to the current zinc mining process and production methods used today. Moreover, mine production has undergone important changes during the 20th century with a shift from underground to open pit mining techniques. Thus technological developments have made it possible to increase productivity without increasing cost through the ability to process lower grade ores through more efficient mineral processing and the use of ever larger scale equipment.
From coatings to compounds, zinc is used in many areas. The major use of zinc is for galvanizing, i.e., protecting steel from corrosion. Other significant uses include that in brass and bronze and in zinc-based alloys used in the die-casting in auto mobile industry, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and construction material. Additionally, investment in infrastructure development are the industry’s major drivers.
The zinc industry, which is highly fragmented, is dominated by Asia. A combination of factors such as, fluctuating exchange rates, demand from investment sector, changing trade policy, vacillations in input prices, general economic conditions, and end-user markets all impact industry dynamics significantly.
However, the zinc industry is exposed to certain challenges such as rising energy costs and achieving economies of scale to reduce costs and improve the quality of output. Other difficulties include scarcity of raw materials from the mining sector, such as zinc sulfide, and government regulations that cover mining. Additionally, rapidly increasing raw materials prices have also posed a challenge to the players in maintaining their profitability trend.
Australia, China, Peru, Mexico and the US have the largest zinc reserves and together accounted for 152 million tons (Mt), or 74.5% of the global total as of January 2016, although zinc ore deposits are found in more than 50 countries.
According to the reports, more than 30% of Australia’s zinc reserves are collectively located in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, with smaller deposits in Tasmania and the Northern Territory. China’s Yunnan province accounts for 22.8% of the country’s total zinc reserves, followed by Inner Mongolia with 19.3%, Gansu with 10.7%, Guangdong with 8.15%, Sichuan with 6.95%, and Qinghai with 4.8%. Currently, the largest mining operation in the US is the Red Dog mine in Alaska, a joint venture between Teck and NANA Regional Corp.—an Alaska Native Regional corporation formed in 1971 under the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act. Whereas, in India, alongside the Red Dog mine in Alaska, the Rampura-Agucha mine, located in the Bhilwara district of Rajasthan in India, is one of the largest sources of zinc in the world. The mine is owned and operated by Hindustan Zinc, majority owned by Vedanta Resources and the Indian government.
In 2015, global zinc mine production was an estimated 13.4Mt in 2015, up by 0.4% over 2014 as a result of an increase in production from Australia, India and Peru.
The strategies that must be adopted, to accelerate the zinc mining industry includes, scope for innovation, more of collaborative ecosystem, digital workforce engagement and better asset management.