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Global zinc output dropped 6% in 2020; China was the biggest zinc producer - report

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(Kitco News) - According to the preliminary data released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), global mine zinc production was estimated to be 12.0 million tons in 2020, a 6% decline compared to 2019 (12.7 million tons).

With 4.2 million tons of mined metal, China was once again an undisputed leader in zinc production, followed by Australia (1.4 million tons) and Peru (1.2 million tons). India sits fourth with 0.72 million tons of zinc mined in 2020. The U.S. is closing the top 5 largest zinc producing countries list with 0.67 million tons mined in 2020.

USGS added that according to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group, global refined zinc production in 2020 was estimated to increase slightly to 13.60 million tons, and metal consumption was estimated decrease by 5% to 12.98 million tons, resulting in a production-to-consumption surplus of about 620,000 tons of refined zinc.

The world’s mine zinc production, thousand tons. 2020* preliminary data. Source: USGS.

USGS estimates that Australia boasts the world’s largest endowment of zinc reserves (68 million tons), followed by China (44 million tons) and Mexico (22 million tons).

As for zinc substitutes in various applications, USGS pointed out that aluminum and plastics substitute for galvanized sheet in automobiles; aluminum alloys, cadmium, paint, and plastic coatings replace zinc coatings in other applications. Aluminum- and magnesium-base alloys are major competitors for zinc-base diecasting alloys. Many elements are substitutes for zinc in chemical, electronic, and pigment uses.

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