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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Zinc is a metallic chemical element with the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. In nonscientific context it is sometimes called spelter.Commercially pure zinc is known as Special High Grade, often abbreviated SHG, and is 99.995% pure.
  • Zinc is a moderately reactive bluish grey metal that tarnishes in moist air and burns in air with a bright bluish-green flame, giving off fumes of zinc oxide. It reacts with acids, alkalis and other non-metals.
  • Zinc deficiency occurs where insufficient zinc is available for metabolic needs. It is usually nutritional, but can also be associated with malabsorption, acrodermatitis enteropathica, chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease.

Application

  • Zinc coatings are widely used to protect finished products ranging from structural steelwork for buildings and bridges, to nuts, bolts, strip, sheet, wire and tube.
  • A zinc alloy containing of 30% aluminium and 5% per cent copper (known in the United Kingdom as Alzen 305) can be used to replace phosphor bronze in some bearing applications, particularly for high loads and low speeds. This alloy can also be extruded.
  • zinc sheet is used for architectural purposes it has a wide range of other applications, including electrical and engineering components, printing, organ pipes, coffin linings, gaskets, stencils, bar and table tops, with new uses continually being developed.

Process

  • Zinc concentration is usually done at the mine site, prior to reaching the zinc processing plant. The concentration includes crushing and flotation techniques.
  • At the zinc processing plant, the zinc is first reduced using pyrometallurgical methods, including distillation, or hydrometallurgical methods, including electrowinning, calcination, leaching, or purification. The electrowinning process is most commonly used.
  • Electrowinning uses an electrolytic cell to reduce the zinc. An electric current is run from a lead-silver anode through a zinc solution. The zinc deposits on an aluminum cathode and is harvested. The zinc is then melted and cast into ingots.
  • Zinc metal is extracted from the purified solution by means of electrolysis.

Market

  • Despite its declining share of world consumption, the U.S. economy still plays an important role in the world zinc markets, mainly because many countries depend on exports of zinc and zinc-containing products to the United States.
  • At 270,000 t/yr, CEZinc is one of the largest zinc processing facilities in the world; Noranda estimated that it supplied about 15% of zinc demand in the United States and about 35% of demand in Canada.
  • The USA’s dominance of the global zinc market has increased with mines in Alaska accounting for more than 50% of the USA’s zinc and lead. Zinc prices increased sharply from a low of US$0.33/lb in 2002 to a high of US$2.09 on Nov. 24, 2006.
  • Zinc demand in China was forecast to exceed mine production by 540,000 tonnes annually; however, destocking led to an actual deficit of 320,000 tonnes.Zinc metal exports from China declined to 465,900 tonnes in 2003 and 223,900 tonnes in 2004. With these declines, China became a significant net importer of zinc

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