Top 10 mines riding zinc price wave – by Editor (Mining.com – December 4, 2016)

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With a more than 75% price jump over the year, zinc is the best performing major metal throughout the mineral commodities market. There are two main factors behind this remarkable zinc price performance.

First, despite the fact that China’s economy is slowing its pace zinc demand keeps growing, especially in Asia. China remains the main player on the market contributing approximately 50% of global zinc consumption.

Surprisingly, both the US and European Union have also seen growth in zinc demand. According to Wood Mackenzie, global zinc demand saw growth of 3.2% in 2015 against 0.9% in 2014. Second, from the supply side, the zinc industry has recently witnessed closure of two major mines, Century and Lisheen; both were old-time members of the “Top 10 zinc mines” club.

These closures took away about 0.6 million tonnes of mined metal from the market, which was followed by production cuts by a few other major miners, including Nyrstar’s suspension of Myra Falls, Campo Morado and several of Tennessee’s zinc mines. Moreover, a number of smaller zinc mines in China are being closed due to environmental concerns.

In addition to multiple closures and suspensions of existing mines, the majority of new zinc projects currently under development are relatively small in scale, generating limited ability for new mine capacity to fill the supply gap.

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