Supply and Demand Outlook For Zinc

Unlike several other base and ferrous metals which have seen huge production capacity expansions over the past ten years, zinc has been one of the few exceptions. As a result, while demand continues to grow in line with the industrialised world’s needs, production has stagnated and is due to shrink over the next two years. Several of the world’s largest zinc mines will be exhausted and due to close. These include the Century Mine in Australia in 2015 and the Lisheen Mine in Ireland in 2016. The Brunswick and Perseverance Mines in Canada closed in 2013.

The only new mine start up occurred in December 2014 when Teck Resources re-opened their former producing Pend Oreille Mine in NE Washington State. This provides carbonate hosted concentrate to their nearby Trail Smelter in British Columbia. Carbonate hosted concentrate, as would be produced from CORAL production, is favoured by smelters to help maintain their environmental balance.

Among the few new mines under construction, Dugald River in Australia is now predicting a delay to start up and will not open in 2015. Nevsun Resources’ Bisha Mine in Eritrea is constructing a zinc circuit to handle anticipated production when the mine reaches the zinc rich part of the deposit but that will not be in production till mid 2016. Therefore, not surprisingly, the consensus among commodities analysts is for strong zinc prices over this period.

For those interested in more detail the International Lead and Zinc Study Group maintains production and consumption records. Other forecasts include those of CRU Group and Fastmarkets.


Zinc Lead Spot Prices Nov 2017