Archive | Zinc, Lead and Tin

Column: Where’s has all the metal gone? LME zinc market starved of stock – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – Janaury 23, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – “Zinc – Where’s the metal?” The question was posed by analysts at ICBC Standard Bank in a research note published in February last year.

One year on and the question is more relevant than ever. London Metal Exchange (LME) zinc stocks totalled 98,000 tonnes in the middle of February 2019. They now stand at 50,550 tonnes. This isn’t how the zinc story was supposed to play out.

Citi was proclaiming “zinc’s last hurrah” in February last year, the bank advising “producers to sell in to temporary tightness since our base case expects the market will loosen in (the second half of the year)”. Continue Reading →

Trevali posts record zinc production (Resource World Magazine – January 20, 2020)

Trevali Mining Corp. [TV-TSX, LMA; TREVF-OTCQX; 4T1-FSE] said Monday January 20 that it is positioned to be a 400-million-pound annual zinc producer with a reduced cost profile until 2022.

The prediction came as Trevali released its preliminary fourth quarter and full-year production results as well as operating, capital and exploration spending guidance for 2020.

Trevali is a Vancouver-based mining company. The bulk of its revenue is generated from base metals mining at four operations. They are the 90%-owned Perkoa Mine in Burkina Faso, the 90%-owned Rosh Pinah Mine in Namibia, the wholly-owned Caribou zinc-lead-silver mine in New Brunswick, and the wholly-owned Santander Mine in Peru. Continue Reading →

Low inventories to frustrate zinc bears – by Pratima Desai (Reuters U.S. – Janaury 17, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – Historically low stocks of zinc in London Metal Exchange registered warehouses are likely to fuel price volatility and confound those investors looking at an oversupplied market and expecting significantly lower prices.

Stocks of zinc in LME warehouses are close to 20-year lows at around 50,000 tonnes, having been on a downtrend since October 2015 when mining giant Glencore (GLEN.L) shut 500,000 tonnes of capacity because of low prices.

The low stocks come at a time when many market participants are expecting to see a supply surplus this year after several years of deficits, which would be bearish for prices of the metal used to galvanise steel. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Early-Stage Research Hints at Big Advancements Ahead in Lead Battery Energy Storage Innovation (Essential Energy – December 11, 2019)

CEOs Visit DOE National Laboratory to Review Collaborative Research Project

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2019 – A three-year scientific research project currently underway at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is showing promising results to unlock the untapped potential of lead batteries. Lead batteries currently supply over 70% of the world’s rechargeable battery energy needs. Yet, possibilities exist to expand their performance to meet growing energy storage and transportation demands.

The project is funded by a joint industry CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) comprised of more than 90% of the U.S. lead battery industry. They are working with Argonne scientists to study lead and its unrealized potential for batteries, which can be employed for both transportation and the nation’s energy infrastructure.

The CRADA is part of the ongoing research and development by the lead battery and recycling industry, which spent more than $100 million in battery R&D in 2018, supports nearly 25,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs, and generates $26.3 billion in economic output. Continue Reading →

Tin prices face pressure from rising output, says ITA – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.S. – November 29, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Rising refined tin output will cut the global market deficit next year and weigh on prices as new Chinese smelters ramp up and Indonesia also expands production, the International Tin Association said on Friday. Benchmark tin prices have already been the worst performer on the London Metal Exchange this year, sliding 16%.

“The average price has declined quite significantly from last year and we would expect next year to also be quite a difficult year for tin,” James Willoughby, manager of market intelligence for the association, told a seminar in London.

Refined output is expected to increase by 5.8% to 352,000 tonnes next year while demand rises by only 0.4% to 353,900 tonnes, according to ITA forecasts. That means the global deficit is forecast to fall to 1,900 tonnes in 2020 from 20,000 tonnes this year. Continue Reading →

Vedanta warns it may have to process ore outside South Africa – by Barbara Lewis and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – November 25, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Vedanta, one of South Africa’s biggest international investors, will process its zinc ore elsewhere unless the country can fix its power problems, the CEO of Vedanta unit Vedanta Zinc International said.

South Africa has suffered rolling blackouts and the debts of state power company Eskom have sapped the country’s economy. The utility’s problems also risk scuppering South Africa’s goal of encouraging processing from mining operations to maximize revenues and jobs.

Deshnee Naidoo, the CEO of Vedanta Zinc International (VZI), which has operations in South Africa and Namibia, said she was concerned a solution might not be possible. Continue Reading →

Glencore Canada to shut Brunswick smelter, union laments ‘devasting blow’ ( – November 13, 2019)

The Canadian unit of global mining and commodities trader Glencore on Wednesday announced the permanent closure of the Brunswick lead smelter, which it said had become uneconomic after the closure of the Brunswick mine in 2013.

The company said that the decommissioning process would begin immediately and the smelter, in Belledune, would cease all operations by the end of the year, affecting more than 400 workers.

Glencore head of zinc and lead assets, Chris Eskdale said in a news release that the decision to cease lead smelting operations was a “very difficult one”. Continue Reading →

Trevali eyes $80m Namibia expansion, moves operations down cost curve – by Mariaan Webb ( – November 6, 2019)

Base metals miner Trevali, which owns operations in Peru, Canada, Namibia and Burkina Faso, has launched a “transformative improvement programme”, dubbed T90, which aims to move its operations down the cost curve.

Trevali is targeting $50-million in pre-tax yearly sustainable efficiencies over the next two years, culminating in all-in sustaining costs (AISC) falling to $0.90/lb by the beginning of 2022.

“We will accomplish this through operational improvements, standardization, and the deployment of technology. This plan will give us the platform to scale and additional improvements beyond T90 are undoubtedly in front of us as it opens the door to the reduction in cut off grades and extended mine lives at our operations,” said president and CEO Ricus Grimbeek. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Zinc and lead supply hits push expected surpluses into 2020 – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – November 4, 2019)

LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Zinc and lead are both in short supply on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Headline zinc stocks of 53,875 tonnes are back at April levels, while “live” tonnage of 27,800 tonnes is the lowest it’s been in at least 20 years.

Lead stocks are a little higher at 70,075 tonnes but have failed significantly to rebuild from July’s decade low of 55,475 tonnes. Unsurprisingly, both LME contracts are experiencing time-spread tightness.

Zinc closed last week with cash metal commanding a $61-per tonne premium over metal for three-month delivery. Lead’s front-month curve structure is also in backwardation to the tune of $7.25 at Friday’s close. The sister metals have defied expectations of a shift into supply surplus throughout this year and they continue to do so. Continue Reading →

Copper prices seen stifled by growth fears next year: Reuters poll – by Eric Onstad and K. Sathya Narayanan (Reuters U.S. – October 28, 2019)

LONDON/ (Reuters) – Prices of copper and other industrial metals are expected to be capped next year as weak economic growth weighs on the market, a Reuters poll showed.

The London Metal Exchange index of six base metals has inched up only 1% so far this year, held back by worries about a possible global recession and a trade war between the United States and top metals consumer China.

But the average is deceptive, because sharp gains for nickel of over 50% cover the fact that half of the metals are in the red, with losses of up to 15%. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-The battery metal no one wants to talk about – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – October 17, 2019)

LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – It accounts for around 75% of all rechargeable energy storage around the world. It is in just about every car and truck, regardless of whether the vehicle has an internal-combustion engine, uses hybrid technology or is pure electric.

Its proven reliability makes it the metal of choice for energy back-up services in hospitals, telephone exchanges, emergency services and public buildings. It is one of the most recycled materials in the modern world, more so than glass or paper, with the United States and Europe boasting near 100% recycling rates.

Yet it is largely absent from any discussion of battery materials in the coming electric vehicle and energy storage revolutions. Welcome to lead. The lead-acid battery was invented in 1859 by a French physicist, Gaston Plante. While plenty of other scientists were experimenting with electrical storage in the middle of the 19th century, Plante’s breakthrough was to create a battery that could be recharged. Continue Reading →

Column: Smelter outages prolong zinc’s supply-chain bottleneck – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 15, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – “The most critical issue facing the zinc market is the performance of zinc smelters and Chinese zinc smelters in particular.” A potential smelter bottleneck topped research house Wood Mackenzie’s January zinc list of “Things to look for in 2019”.

And so it has proved. The world’s zinc mines lifted production by 1.9% in the first half of this year, according to the latest statistical bulletin from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group.

However, world refined metal production fell by 0.4% over the same period. The surprise is that it’s not Chinese smelters that have been having problems, but rather those in the rest of the world. Continue Reading →

Northern zinc-rich projects get boost – by Rose Ragsdale (North of 60 Mining News – October 1, 2019)

As the worldwide deficit in zinc production grows, several zinc-lead mining projects across northern Canada await construction of access arteries needed to deliver their ore to market. The projects are among the world’s most attractive and represent a base metals treasure trove coveted by would-be developers and end users alike.

Recent funding from the Canadian government and other public and private sources could unlock the floodgates to critical infrastructure development needed to spur base metals mining in Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

In mid-August, the Government of Canada, two territorial governments and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association agreed to commit more than C$60 million to the Slave Corridor Project, an initiative aimed at kickstarting development in the mineral-rich and underdeveloped Slave Geological Province, with construction of new roads and a deep-water port. Continue Reading →

Global zinc production to rise on the back of elevated prices – by Simone Liedtke ( – October 1, 2019)

Global mined zinc production is expected to continue ramping up over the coming years as elevated prices encourage miners to restart idled capacity and start production at key new mines, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said this week.

In its ‘Outlook for Zinc Mining’, published on Tuesday, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said that, while some capacity had been taken off line during 2015 and 2016, owing to permanent mine closures, the return of some stalled capacity and new projects in key countries would drive growth over the coming quarters.

Fitch Solutions Macro Research forecast that global zinc mine production will increase by 1.6% year-on-year to 13.2-million tonnes this year, before increasing to 15.7-million tonnes by 2028, averaging 1.9% growth a year. Continue Reading →

[Trevali Mining] CEO bullish on buoying miner as zinc sinks – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver – September 18, 2019)

The stock market has not been kind of late to Trevali Mining Corp. (TSX:TV). The Vancouver-based zinc miner has doubled in size since acquiring two zinc mines from Glencore Plc in 2017, bumping it to mid-tier miner status, with a global head count of about 2,000.

It now has four operating zinc mines – one in New Brunswick, one in Peru and two in Africa (Namibia and Burkina Faso). Normally, that kind of production growth would be a good reason to hold onto a mining stock. But the company’s share price has recently fallen to below $0.20 from $1.68 at the end of January 2018.

Trevali is not the only zinc miner to experience a stock market pummelling. Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN), one of the world’s largest zinc producers, has suffered a 45% decline in share value since January 2018. Continue Reading →