Investing in Zinc

Zinc is a metal that is alloyed with copper to make brass. It is most commonly used to protect against corrosion.

Domestic Production and Use: The value of zinc mined in 2010, based on zinc contained in concentrate, was about $1.65 billion. It was produced in 4 States at 12 mines operated by 4 companies. Two facilities—one primary and the other secondary—produced the bulk of refined zinc metal of commercial grade in 2010. Of the total zinc consumed, about 55% was used in galvanizing, 21% in zinc-based alloys, 16% in brass and bronze, and 8% in other uses. Zinc compounds and dust were used principally by the agriculture, chemical, paint, and rubber industries. Major coproducts of zinc mining and smelting were lead, sulfuric acid, cadmium, silver, gold, and germanium.

Recycling: In 2010, about 41% (85,000 tons) of the slab zinc produced in the United States was recovered from secondary materials—mainly electric arc furnace dust, as well as galvanizing residues.

Import Sources (2006–09): Ore and concentrate: Peru, 69%; Ireland, 16%; Mexico, 13%; and Canada, 2%. Metal: Canada, 73%; Mexico, 13%; Kazakhstan, 3%; Republic of Korea, 3%; and other, 8%. Waste and scrap: Canada, 64%; Mexico, 24%; Italy, 4%; Thailand, 3%; and other, 5%. Combined total: Canada, 59%; Peru, 16%; Mexico, 13%; Ireland, 3%; and other, 9%.

Events, Trends, and Issues: Global zinc mine production in 2010 was forecast to increase to 12 million tons, mostly owing to increases in zinc mine production in Australia and China. According to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group, refined metal production increased by 11% to 12.5 million tons, while world metal consumption increased by 13% to 12.3 million tons, resulting in a market surplus of 233,000 tons of metal. A smaller surplus is anticipated in 2011. Demand for zinc generally follows industrial production or, more generally, global economic growth. Global economic activity expanded during 2010, albeit at a sluggish pace. The rate of growth in the United States and Japan was slower than that of Europe and the major emerging economies—most notably Brazil, China, and India. The rise in global zinc consumption in 2010 was credited to a strong recovery of consumption in Europe (24%) as well as continued strong growth in consumption in China (11%).

Domestically, production continued to ramp up at two recently reopened zinc mining complexes in Tennessee. However, overall zinc mine production decreased in 2010 from that of 2009 owing to the loss of production from mines in Montana and Washington, both of which had ceased operations in 2009. Primary production returned to normal levels in 2010, as production at the zinc refinery in Tennessee was near capacity throughout the year. Secondary zinc production decreased from that of 2009, as the zinc smelter in Pennsylvania halted production from July through November as a result of a fire at the plant.

After declining through the first half of the year, average monthly zinc prices rebounded during the second half of 2010. The LME cash price for Special High Grade zinc averaged 110 cents per pound in January, decreased to 79 cents per pound by midyear, and then rose to 106 cents per pound by October.

World Resources: Identified zinc resources of the world are about 1.9 billion metric tons.

Substitutes: Aluminum, plastics, and steel substitute for galvanized sheet. Aluminum, magnesium, and plastics are major competitors as diecasting materials. Aluminum alloy, cadmium, paint, and plastic coatings replace zinc for corrosion protection; aluminum alloys substitute for brass. Many elements are substitutes for zinc in chemical, electronic, and pigment uses.

Zinc Producers
Beijing Changli Lianhe Energy Technology - Zinc-air fuel cells
BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) -
Canada Zinc Metals (CVE: CZX)
Canadian Zinc (TSE: CZN)
Chelyabinsk Zinc
Glencore (LON: GLEN)
Halo Resources (CVE: HLO) - Sherridon VMS property in Manitoba, Canada
Hindustan Zinc (BOM: 500188) - Indian zinc producer
Vedanta Resources (LON: VED)
Horsehead Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: ZINC) - Specialty zinc and nickel-based products
HudBay Minerals (TSE: HBM)
Huludao Zinc Industry Co. (SHE: 000751) - Zinc sulfate, hot dipped zinc, zinc alloy ingots, zinc oxide, zinc ingots, and high grade zinc.
Ironbark Zinc - Mestersvig project in Greenland
Jiangxi Copper Company (OTC: JIXAY)
Korea Zinc Group (SEO: 010130) - Korean zinc producer
Lundin Mining (TSE: LUN)
Minmetals Resources (HKG: 1208)
Nyrstar (EBR: NYR) - zinc smelting
Overland Resources - Yukon Base Metal Project
Teck (NYSE: TCK) - Red Dog mine in Alaska and Antamina mine in northern Peru
Terramin - Tala Hamza zinc project in Algeria
Tirex Resources (CVE: TXX) - Mirdita project in Albania
Trevali Mining (TSE: TV)
Umicore NV/SA (EBR: UMI) - Belgian producer of zinc-based chemicals
Vedanta Resources (LON: VED)
Xstrata (LON: XTA)
Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium Co. (SHA: 600497) - Zinc ingots, zinc die casting alloys, electrolytic zinc, and hot-galvanized zinc alloys.
Yunnan Luoping Zinc & Electricty Co. (SHE: 002114) - Zinc powder, zinc ingots, and zinc oxide.
Yunnan Tin Co. (SHE: 000960)
Rio Tinto -
Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) - Kerbar copper zinc prospect
Zincore Metals (TSE: ZNC) - Yanque deposit in the Accha Zinc Oxide District Project in Peru

Zinc price chart -
Zinc historical charts -

(wiki) - Zinc on Wikipedia

Zinc News
2011-07-08 - (pla) - US zinc premiums still lofty despite mid-summer lull, sources
2011-06-28 - (reu) - Zinc miners in crosshairs as prices set to rise
2011-06-28 - (reu) - The vital statistics of zinc
2011-06-27 - (bl) - Zinc imports by China capped as record inventories curb demand
2011-06-22 - (bl) - Zinc stockpile orders rise for fourth day on increases in U.S.
2011-06-16 - (mw) - Zinc downside seen capped as market tightens
2011-06-16 - (fp) - Zinc miners increasingly scarce
2011-06-13 - (gtm) - In storage, let's hear it for zinc
2011-06-10 - (bl) - Copper stockpiles in Shanghai drop, zinc falls from record
2011-05-19 - (mb) - Zinc rallies as funds cover shorts
2011-05-12 - (mb) - Consumers turn to short-term hedges in opaque zinc market
2010-11-18 - (sg) - Major zinc market developments in October
2010-11-12 - (gtm) - The great white hope for white LEDs: zinc oxide
2010-11-12 - (dj) - Halo reports up to 3.3% copper and 8.6% zinc over 7.3 meters
2010-11-10 - (abc) - Zinc mine expansion means hundreds of jobs for Mount Isa
2010-10-07 - (prl) - August domestic zinc production rose 7.8% decline in zinc concentrate production
2010-03-08 - (bw) - Sinogas in talks to invest in zinc-air battery project in China
2010-02-03 - (bl) - Exxaro says buyer of zinc assets should also acquire Anglo's
2010-01-22 - (wsj) - Hindustan Zinc net proft triples
2007-07-05 - (ri) - Zinc remains a solid investment as China's demand grows nearly 10%
2006-12-15 - (mw) - Zinc supplies are quietly running out

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