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Nyrstar advocates for more zinc capacity

Image shows zinc bars stacked

Photo by Bloomberg

6th June 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Global critical minerals producer Nyrstar has made a case for Australia to add zinc and other industrial metals to the critical minerals list, and to provide support for an increase in the expansion of existing domestic processing facilities of critical and strategic metals.   

Nyrstar on Tuesday published a White Paper highlighting the significant impact that renewable energy growth is having on international markets for metals, and the unique opportunity this presents Australia to become a global leader in critical minerals by increasing its processing of critical and strategic metals.   

Research by Trafigura Research and industry estimates that by 2030, annual demand for zinc will grow by 20% from current levels.

Trafigura Research estimates show that based on current forecasts, some increased supply could cover roughly half of that increased demand, however, there will remain a more than 10% shortfall in 2030. A 10% shortfall is equivalent to 150% of Australia’s entire mined zinc supply or five to six new ‘mega mines’.

Nyrstar said on Tuesday that global supply projections outlined in the report also show that despite increased demand for zinc and other metals, there was a significant risk of a global supply shortfall. This risk is being driven by rapid drawdown of existing inventories, the lack of development of new mining and refining projects and an increased concentration of processing in just a few countries.

Australia has the largest identified economic resources of zirconium and titanium in the world and the world’s second-largest reserves of cobalt, lithium, tungsten and vanadium. Australia also has the third- and fourth-largest reserves of niobium and manganese ore, respectively.

In 2019, Australia’s economic demonstrated resources of gold, iron-ore, lead, nickel, rutile, tantalum, uranium, zinc and zircon were the world’s largest. It also has another 15 commodities ranked in the top five for world economic resources: antimony, bauxite, black coal, brown coal, cobalt, copper, diamond, ilmenite, lithium, manganese ore and niobium, the White Paper stated.

Nyrstar co-CEO Dale Webb said that metals were central to the energy transition, but their markets were vulnerable to instability, shock and geopolitical risk.

“Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to respond to the shift in commodities demand that we are witnessing, and in doing so strengthen the role it plays in providing supply and energy security to South East Asia and the US.

“Now is the time to leverage Australia’s rich endowment of resources and world-class metals, smelting and refining industry and set a new direction in our critical minerals future, by putting in place the right policy signals to expand and evolve our processing capability,” said Webb.

The White Paper stated that the right policy signals that support leveraging the country’s abundant mineral resources and augmenting processing capability would benefit Australian sovereignty, long-term security, the economy and Australian employment.

The paper called on Australia to expand its processing capability in order to realise this strategic and economic opportunity.

“Australia can become a significant player in the production of critical minerals and metals in the region, becoming known as a leading supplier of zinc, and as a potential new source for germanium, indium, antimony and cobalt. The strategic and economic opportunity available to the nation is real and one not to be missed,” Webb said.


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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