Price Outlook for Zinc

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Following on from our last review of zinc in June, the mine closures we predicted, have started and some have been announced. Teck Cominco and Xstrata confirmed their Lennard Shelf mine in Western Australia will be closed this month. That mine was originally scheduled to operate until 2011. AIM Resources announced its 65,000 tpy  Perkoa project in West Africa has been scrapped for the time being due to funding problems brought on by the low zinc price. Though China cancels their 5% export tax rebate there are reports of Chinese miners struggling to stay viable with the low prices. Standard Bank reported recently that 10-20% of mine capacity is marginal or unprofitable with up to 250,000 tons of North American production at risk if not for the weak dollar keeping out imports. It will take the overhang of capacity over consumption to move back into balance before prices will rise. Consumers can expect prices to remain around current levels. However with these closures and the expected exhaustion of several well established older mines, the market could move rapidly into deficit in 2-3 years time and prices will move back up. Consumers will not be able to book prices now in anticipation of this but should consider their options for demand early in the next decade.

–Stuart Burns

Comment (1)

  1. Anmol says:

    The pace of mine closures is accelerating. The market could even move into deficit as early as next year.

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