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Zinc: From underperformer to rising star

Zinc: From underperformer to rising star

Many zinc watchers believe that there is a structural supply shortage on the way that will support higher zinc prices. Scheduled mine closures combined with underinvestment in zinc mine projects during the last decade means perhaps as much as 5Mt of new mine capacity will be needed by 2020. Production in Peru and Mexico, the region's biggest zinc miners, is on the rise.

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Peru cost advantage
Peruvian zinc miners enjoy competitive costs for inputs such as labor and energy, as well as strong byproduct credits.

The future of zinc in Peru
Near-term startups are due to keep Peru’s production on a gentle upward trend over the next couple of years, while four largescale, zinc-focused greenfield projects stand to add more than 400,000t/y further into the future.

Mexico on the up
Mexican zinc output soared 36% between 2009 and 2011, and a handful of development stage projects are set to keep production on the rise.

Byproduct blues
Zinc often comes from mines where it is not the primary product. The danger is that depressed prices for other metals, most notably silver, could impact zinc production.

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