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Production and consumption

First traded on LME: 1915
Current specification introduced: September 1988
World production: 13.1 million tonnes per annum (2011)

Zinc is the 24th most abundant element on earth and has been used for thousands of years - particularly in brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc. Early use was limited mainly to making brass objects such as weapons, ornaments, coins and mirrors.

Today, the galvanisation of other metals accounts for around half of world zinc consumption. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals can be protected against the elements by adding a layer of zinc either by hot dipping into molten zinc or by electroplating.

Zinc's light-weight and corrosion-resistant properties mean it is often used in die-casting alloys, castings, brass products, sheeting products as well as in chemicals, medicine, paints and batteries.

World zinc production 2011


Asia 61%
Europe 19%
America 14%
Oceania 4%
Arica 2%

Source: WBMS