Global association the International Zinc Association (IZA) was created in 1991 by a group of leading zinc producers who are guided by the principle of undertaking actions that positively influence the market and the image of zinc.
IZA Africa regional director Hazvinei Munjoma spoke to Mining Weekly to discuss the initiatives of the association to build zinc demand in the region, with the aim of building a sustainable future for zinc.
With 45 full members and over 200 affiliate and associate members globally, IZA promotes the sustainable use of zinc, including the use of zinc in fertilisers.
“This health and fertiliser initiative was launched to address zinc deficiency in crops by adding zinc-fortified fertilisers to soils,” explains Munjoma. Zinc deficiency causes reduced crop yields and human nutrition challenges in some regions, particularly in South Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient that is crucial for growth, brain development and fighting dangerous infections, especially in children. Zinc-rich foods include meat, poultry, seafood, and nuts, but many people in developing countries have plant-based diets that do not provide enough zinc for healthy development.
“By adding zinc fertilisers to crops, zinc is increased in the diet. IZA is also working with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund on the Zinc Saves Kids (ZSK) Initiative, which aims to improve the survival, growth, and development of undernourished children throughout the world,” he says.
IZA works closely with companies, governments, and nongovernmental organisations to address policy issues and to promote the benefits of zinc fertilisers to the farming community.
“IZA has been at the forefront of increasing awareness on the benefits of zinc fertilisers to address zinc deficiency affecting soils and crops, as well as human and animal health globally,” says Munjoma.
Other international achievements of IZA include promoting the advantages of zinc in corrosion protection for steel to the regional galvanising associations. IZA has provided focused assistance for the galvanising industry through educational and marketing activities, as well as the development of galvanising standards to ensure the correct application of galvanised steel.
“Examples of this support [are] market development programmes, such as using zinc for hot-dip galvanising in infrastructure development, the automotive industry, and rebar in concrete infrastructure,” he notes.
Meanwhile, IZA’s Galvanised Autobody Partnership is a coalition of zinc, steel and auto companies that align to retain and grow steel use in the automotive sector through technical innovations in advanced high-strength steel, thereby ensuring that evolving steel grades can be galvanised and used in auto bodies.
The association has also assisted in increasing the awareness of zinc die casting alloys at the designer, specifier and engineering levels. “This entails developing and disseminating essential user property data, including mechanical and finish properties, and educating designers and engineers about zinc die castings and their capabilities,” he explains.
IZA has been involved in the development of new technologies and new alloys with improved properties to open new markets and applications.
IZA is also dedicated to the principle of sustainability and believes that supporting sustainable development practices is a key factor in driving long-term prosperity in the zinc industry.
“Environment and sustainability programmes are integral to the future of the zinc industry. The IZA continues to develop and update information on the sustainability aspects of zinc and its products and communicates this information to key markets and stakeholders,” Munjoma concludes.