10 Top Zinc-producing Countries

China was the top producer in 2016 by a long shot, with Peru and Australia rounding out the top three.

top magnesite producing countries

While zinc didn’t do well in 2015, like many metals it enjoyed a rebound in 2016, gaining more than 60 percent and becoming the best-performing LME metal. 

Many analysts also expect zinc to do well this year. The broad consensus is that demand for the base metal will continue to rise while supply will fall, largely due to mine closures.

Given that situation, it’s interesting to look at how zinc supply is doing. Here’s a brief overview of top zinc production in world by country for 2016, as per the most recent data from the US Geological Survey.

1. China

Mine production: 4.5 million MT

In 2016, China achieved top zinc production in world by country by a long shot, putting out 4.5 million MT of the metal; that’s slightly up from the 4.3 million MT it produced in 2015.

Interestingly, the Asian nation is not only the world’s biggest zinc producer, but also a significant consumer of the metal. In fact, China is a big part of why zinc fared so well last year — growing demand for the metal was supported by strong property sales in the country and by the Chinese government’s push for more infrastructure projects.

2. Peru

Mine production: 1.3 million MT

Zinc production in Peru decreased by 120,000 MT in 2016. The country produced 1.3 million MT compared to 2015’s 1.42 million MT, but made it to second place due to declining output in Australia.

Modern zinc refining began in Peru in the 1920s, and from the 1970s to the 1990s, the country saw a big increase in private international investors hoping to up the country’s zinc production. Currently, a big name in Peruvian zinc production is Trevali Mining (TSX:TV), which is producing zinc and leadsilver concentrates at its Santander mine in the country.

3. Australia

Mine production: 850,000 MT

Australia produced 850,000 MT of zinc in 2016, almost half of the 1.6 million MT it produced in 2015.

The significant drop happened because in October 2015, mining concluded at MMG’s (HKEX:1208) Queensland-based Century zinc mine — while MMG had originally hoped that output from its Dugald River project would fill the gap left by Century, its production did not measure up.

4. United States

Mine production: 780,000 MT

The US produced 780,000 MT of zinc in 2016, a slight decrease from 2015’s 825,000 MT.

According to the US Geological Survey, zinc was mined in five states at 12 mines operated by four companies in 2016. The decrease in production was mainly to the closure of Nyrstar’s (BRE:NYR) Middle Tennessee mines in December 2015. The mines were able to produce 50,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate per year.

5. Mexico

Mine production: 710,000 MT

Mexico’s zinc output increased by 30,000 MT from 2015 to 2016. According to MBendi Information Services, while Grupo Mexico (OTCMKTS:GMBXF) is the country’s biggest mining company, Industrias Penoles (BMV:PE&OLES) is its largest natural resource company and Mexico’s biggest producer of zinc.

6. India

Mine production: 650,000 MT

India’s zinc production fell fairly substantially year-over-year; it put out 650,000 MT of the metal in 2016 compared to 821,000 MT the year prior. The country is home to one of the world’s top zinc mines — the Rampura Agucha mine in Rajasthan, which has an ore production capacity of 6.15 million MT per year.

7. Bolivia

Mine production: 460,000 MT

Bolivia produced 460,000 MT of zinc in 2016. That’s slightly higher from the year before, when production reached 440,000 MT. Sumitomo’s (TSE:8053) San Cristobal mine is a key producer of zinc in the country. The company states that the mine is the world’s sixth-largest zinc-producing mine, as well as the third-largest producer of silver in the world.

8. Kazakhstan

Mine production: 340,000 MT

Kazakhstan’s 2016 zinc production remained relatively flat compared to 2015. The country produced 340,000 MT of zinc after putting out 339,000 MT in 2015.

Despite being one of the top zinc producers in the world, the country’s zinc output has decreased about 75 percent since reaching its peak in the 1980s, as per MBendi Information Services. Kazzinc is a major zinc producer in the country, and also produces considerable amounts of copper, precious metals and lead. It bills itself as one of the five lowest-cost zinc producers in the world.

9. Canada

Mine production: 310,000 MT

Canada’s zinc output has been on the decline for the last few years, but its output increased from 277,000 MT in 2015 to 310,000 MT in 2016. The country has been producing less zinc in part due to the closure of the Brunswick mine in May 2013. It was one of the world’s largest and most profitable zinc mines, according to CBC News, but its resources are now depleted. Trevali Mining has broken into the Canadian zinc space as well — it declared commercial production at its Caribou mine in New Brunswick in Q3 2016.

10. Sweden

Mine production: 250,000 MT

Rounding out the top 10 for zinc production in world by country is Sweden, which produced 250,000 MT of zinc in 2016, a slight increase from 247,000 MT the year before. Boliden’s (STO:BOL) Garpenberg zinc-silver mine and Lundin Mining’s (TSX:LUN) Zinkgruvan zinc-copper mine are located in the Scandinavian country.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Zinc Investing News on May 18, 2015.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Trevali Mining is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.


This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information.

While zinc didn’t do well in 2015, like many metals it’s enjoyed a rebound so far in 2016. As of November 24, the zinc price hit its highest since March 2008 at $2,749 per tonne.

That being said, zinc was a favorite for analysts this year. They expect that the strong demand of the base metal will continue to rise while the supply will fall mainly affected by mine closures.

Given that situation, it’s interesting to look at how zinc supply is doing. Here’s a brief overview of top zinc production in world by country for 2015, as per the most recent data from the US Geological Survey.

1. China

Mine production: 4.9 million MT

In 2015, China achieved top zinc production in world by country by a long shot, putting out 4.9 million MT of the metal; that’s slightly down from the 4.93 million MT it produced in 2014.

Interestingly, the Asian nation is not only the world’s biggest zinc producer, but also a significant consumer of the metal. In fact, China is a big part of why zinc fared so poorly last year — the metal’s price took a severe hit on the back of worries about Chinese economic growth.

2. Australia

Mine production: 1.58 million MT

Australia produced 1.58 million MT of zinc in 2015, just over the 1.56 million MT it produced in 2014.

While that’s only a small change, it’s possible that Australian zinc output stats may be very different in 2016. Why? Because in October 2015, mining concluded at MMG’s (HKEX:1208) Queensland-based Century zinc mine — while MMG had originally hoped that output from its Dugald River project would fill the gap left by Century, thus far it seems like output will not measure up.

3. Peru

Mine production: 1.37 million MT

Zinc production in Peru increased a little in 2015. The country produced 1.37 million MT compared to 2014’s 1.32 million MT

Modern zinc refining began in Peru in the 1920s, and from the 1970s to the 1990s, the country saw a big increase in private international investors hoping to up the country’s zinc production. Currently, a big name in Peruvian zinc production is Trevali Mining (TSX:TV), which is producing zinc and leadsilver concentrates at its Santander mine in the country.

4. United States

Mine production: 850,000 MT

The US produced 850,000 MT of zinc in 2014, an increase from 2014’s 832,000 MT.

According to the US Geological Survey, zinc was mined in five states at 15 mines operated by four companies in 2015. The rise in production last year was mostly due to the reopening of the Washington-based Pend Oreille mine at the end of 2014. Pend Oreille is owned by Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B,NYSE:TCK); the company also operates the Red Dog mine in Alaska, one of the world’s top zinc mines.

5. India

Mine production: 830,000 MT

India’s zinc production rose fairly substantially year-over-year, with the country reporting 2015 output of 830,000 MT compared to 706,000 MT the year prior. The country is home to another of the world’s top zinc mines — the Rampura Agucha mine in Rajasthan, which has an ore production capacity of 6.15 million MT per year.

6. Mexico

Mine production: 660,000 MT

Zinc output from Mexico stayed flat at 660,000 MT from 2014 to 2015. According to MBendi Information Services, while Grupo Mexico is the country’s biggest mining company, Industrias Penoles is its largest natural resource company and Mexico’s biggest producer of zinc.

7. Bolivia

Mine production: 430,000 MT

Bolivia produced 430,000 MT of zinc in 2015. That’s relatively even from the year before, when production reached 449,000 MT. Sumitomo’s (TSE:8053) San Cristobal mine is a key producer of zinc in the country. The company states that the mine is the world’s sixth-largest zinc-producing mine, as well as the third-largest producer of silver in the world.

8. Kazakhstan

Mine production: 340,000 MT

Kazakhstan saw a small dip in zinc production in 2015. The country produced 340,000 MT of zinc after putting out 345,000 MT in 2014.

Despite being one of the top zinc producers in the world, the country’s zinc output has decreased about 75 percent since reaching its peak in the 1980s, as per MBendi Information Services. Kazzinc is a major zinc producer in the country, and also produces considerable amounts of copper, precious metals and lead. It bills itself as one of the five lowest-cost zinc producers in the world.

9. Canada

Mine production: 300,000 MT

Canada’s zinc output has been on the decline for the last few years. The country has been producing less zinc in part due to the closure of the Brunswick mine in May 2013. It was one of the world’s largest and most profitable zinc mines, according to CBC News, but its resources had been depleted. In addition to its Peruvian mine, Trevali Mining (TSX:TV) broke into the Canadian zinc space as well — it declared Commercial Production at its Caribou mine in New Brunswick in Q3 2016.

10. Ireland

Mine production: 230,000 MT

Rounding out the top 10 for zinc production in world by country is Ireland, which produced 230,000 MT of zinc in 2015, a drop from 283,000 MT the year before. Ireland’s Tara zinc mine, which opened in Dublin in 1977, is the largest zinc mine in Europe, NPR notes. The Lisheen zinc mine, also in Ireland, made its final shipment early in 2016.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Zinc Investing News on May 18, 2015.

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Trevali Mining is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

 

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