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World lead and zinc figures

Archiv – The London-based International Lead & Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) identifies two major trends in its annual report on ’Lead and zinc new mine and smelter projects’. Firstly, the publication recognises the growing importance of China within the lead and zinc industry. In lead, ILZSG identifies five confirmed primary smelter and refinery projects in China out of a world total of seven. Meanwhile, China accounted for well over half of the 470 000 tonnes increase world zinc smelting capacity in 2002.
ILZSG also observes the apparent mismatch between capacity changes in mining and
smelting.
The London-based International Lead & Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) identifies two major trends in its annual report on ’Lead and zinc new mine and smelter projects’. Firstly, the publication recognises the growing importance of China within the lead and zinc industry. In lead, ILZSG identifies five confirmed primary smelter and refinery projects in China out of a world total of seven. Meanwhile, China accounted for well over half of the 470 000 tonnes increase world zinc smelting capacity in 2002.
ILZSG also observes the apparent mismatch between capacity changes in mining and
smelting. In lead, for example, global mine capacity has fallen by a net 300 000 tonnes-plus over the last three years, while primary smelter and refinery capacity has risen by around 200 000 tonnes over the same period.
In zinc, the disparity is even more pronounced. Mine capacity has fallen by a net 200 000 tonnes over the last three years while smelter capacity has risen by 1.2 million tonnes during the same period. A continuation of this trend would almost certainly lead to a bottle-neck in concentrate supply.
Looking at 2003, the report says it is possible to identify some 335 000 tonnes of new zinc mining capacity, although the main focus of interest will be the Greenfield Skorpion operation in Namibia. This will be an integrated mine/refinery using direct leach technology to produce around 150 000 tonnes of zinc.
2001 had produced the largest net rise in world primary lead smelting and refining capacity since ILZSG records began in 1994, and there was another significant increase in 2002 of just over 100 000 tonnes thanks to four expansion projects in China. Three more such projects are scheduled to increase Chinese capacity by a further 100 000 tonnes in 2003.
The net 416 000 tonnes rise in world zinc smelting capacity during 2002 followed a record increase of 571 000 tonnes in 2001. The ILZSG has also identified a further 460 000 tonnes of capacity set to come on stream in 2003. Skorpion will be the largest contributor to this total, while the Greenfield Balkhash smelter in Kazakhstan is also set to add 100 000 tonnes. Expansion at Sukpo in Korea will contribute a further 76 000 tonnes.

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