Lead Reserves by Country

Base Metals Investing
Lead Investing

You might know which country produces the most lead, but do you know where the highest reserves of the metal are found?

Those interested in lead investing are often interested to hear which countries produce the most of the metal, but sometimes fail to consider lead reserves.
Lead reserves are a measure of how much economically mineable lead a country holds. Though it’s easy to forget to consider these numbers, they are worth keeping an eye on — after all, countries with substantial lead reserves may eventually become powerhouses in the industry.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of lead reserves by country, with a particular focus on the three countries that currently hold the highest lead reserves. All lead reserves by country data is based on the US Geological Survey’s most recent report on lead. Read on to learn more.

1. Australia

Lead reserves: 35,000 MT
At 35,000 MT, Australia holds the highest lead reserves in the world by a long shot. And unlike some countries with high lead reserves, the nation was a top producer of lead in 2016 — it put out 500 MT of the metal, coming in second place in the world.
Australia faced lead and zinc mine closures last year that tightened supply of both base metals and pushed prices higher at the end of 2016.

2. China

Lead reserves: 17,000 MT
China produces much more lead than Australia, but its reserves of the metal are nevertheless lower — it put out 2,400 MT of lead in 2016, and its reserves stand at 17,000 MT.
Mine shutdowns in China also helped boost lead prices last year. FocusEconomics recently said that it believes “lead supply could tighten” further in 2017 as China is expected to cut production even further due to pollution problems.

3. Russia

Lead reserves: 6,400 MT
Russia’s lead reserves are much lower than Australia and China’s at 6,400 MT. Russia’s lead production remained unchanged from 2015 to 2016 at 225,000 MT; there is not much other public information regarding the country’s lead production.

More lead reserves by country

Australia, China and Russia have the highest lead reserves, but many other countries also hold significant lead reserves. Here’s a quick look at where other nations stand:

  • Peru — 6,300 MT
  • Mexico — 5,600 MT
  • United States — 5,000 MT
  • India — 2,200 MT
  • Kazakhstan — 2,000 MT

Various other countries hold a total of 1,500 MT of lead reserves, with the world total sitting at 88,000 MT.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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