The Zinc Industry: New Developments

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Frank E. Goodwin

The global zinc industry continues to evolve and faces new demands on many fronts: supply and demand changes, regulatory challenges and expectations from key stakeholders. What are the zinc Industry’s responses to these demands? This paper reviews the changes since the review given at EMC 2015, especially the developments that will have an impact on the Industry in the future. Supply-demand parameters are continuing to evolve. Supply changes include the depletion of key zinc resources and the geographical shifts for both mine and refined metal supply. Markets are also shifting in terms of both geographical and end-uses. Growth rates in various geographical markets vary; developments in China, India and Mexico will be given special attention. Threats from competing materials and new zinc products and markets are being developed that could have a significant impact on zinc demand, especially in the automobile and concrete construction sectors. Environmental regulatory and sustainability issues continue to increase globally. Some new regulatory issues threaten the use of zinc or impact on increasing operational costs for mines and refineries. Issues include water and sediment regulations, REACH, and International Maritime Organization concentrate shipping regulations. In sustainability regulatory officials are demanding “resource efficiency” which requires the industry to have recycling and other programs backed up by critical scientific data and statistics. New data on zinc’s “circular economy” will be presented. Also, stakeholder groups are demanding more from all industries including the zinc industry in terms of sustainability issues i.e., what are the Industry and its participants doing to ensure contributions are being made back to society.

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