Zinc
Feature Articles
New Zinc Projects
September 2021
While demand for zinc does not show as much growth as demand for other metals, it remains steady. With many projects put on hold at the beginning of 2020 due to the pandemic and zinc prices falling, we are seeing projects being restarted with many due to come online within the next five years.

By the end of 2024, producers are forecast to add 1.6Mtpa of zinc concentrate capacity from new projects. A lot of this new supply will be replacing current production, with the closure in 2020 of Aguilar in Argentina and the upcoming planned closure of large producing mines such as the 777 mine and Bracemac-McLeod in Canada, both currently scheduled to finish producing in 2023.

 

North America

There are a few new projects scheduled to begin in Canada over the next three years.

The past producing Scotia Mine is 100% owned by ScoZinc. Commercial production is currently estimated to begin in 2022 following a financing arrangement through a business combination with Fancamp Exploration. Production is forecast at an average of approximately 30ktpa of zinc concentrate and 10kt of lead concentrate over a 14-year mine life.

The 100% Osisko Metals-owned Pine Point project is expected to enter commercial production in the second half of 2025. The 2020 PEA forecast production of 3,279Mlb of zinc and 1,438Mlb of lead over a 10-year mine life, with LOM lead and zinc concentrate grades of 63% and 59%, respectively. LOM lead and zinc recoveries are forecast to be 92.8% and 86.7%, respectively.

The 100% NorZinc owned Prairie Creek project is located in the same region as Pine Point and is scheduled to commence operations around the same time in 2024. Based on the reserves of the 2017 Feasibility Study, Prairie Creek will have a 15-year mine life with average annual metal contained in concentrate of 105Mlbs of lead, 95Mlbs of zinc and 2.1Moz of silver for the first 10 years.

 

South America

The Aripuanã underground polymetallic project located in Mato Grosso, Brazil is owned by Nexa Resources. The project is currently under construction, with production expected to commence in 2022 producing approximately 60ktpa of zinc, 5ktpa of copper and 25ktpa of lead over a 13-year mine life.

Nexa Resources is also developing the Shalipayco, Florida Canyon and Hilarión projects in the medium term. Shalipayco, located in Peru (75% Nexa Peru; 25% Pan American Silver Peru) is a potential underground polymetallic project containing zinc, lead and silver deposits currently at PFS stage.

Florida Canyon, located in Peru (61% Nexa Peru; 39% Solitario Zinc) is a potential underground project containing high grade zinc and lead sulfide The project is at exploration stage but is currently on hold. Hilarión (100% Nexa Peru), located in Peru, is an early exploration stage zinc, lead, silver and copper underground project.

 

Europe

The Citronen project, located in Greenland and 100% owned by Ironbark Zinc Ltd, is one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc projects. A 2021 BFS confirmed robust project economics and subject to confirming financial arrangement the project is set to commence production in 2024. The project is set to produce 2.5Mt of zinc metal, over a 20-year mine life, from 65Mt processed ore grading 4.7% of zinc and 0.5% of lead.

 

CIS

Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC) began construction at Korbalikhinskoye, located in Russia in the Zmeinogorsk region of the Altai Territory, in late 2020. Korbalikhinskoye is a polymetallic deposit thought to be one of the largest zinc and lead deposits in Russia. The project also involves the increase in the capacity of the Rubtsovka plant to 1.5Mtpa of ore. The mine has reserves amounting to 24.5Mt of ore grading 2.01% lead, 9.8% zinc and 43.5Moz of silver. The project is estimated to produce 80ktpa of zinc concentrate and 30ktpa of lead concentrate over a mine life of 16 years.

The Mehdiabad project located in Iran is the largest tonnage zinc deposit in the country, with average zinc grades at around 4.5%. The project is operated though an incorporated Iranian joint venture company, Mehdiabad Zinc Company, by Karoun Dez Dasht (KDD Group) and Iran Zinc Mines Development Group (IMIDRO). Construction at the operation began in 2017 and is set to complete in 2022. The operation is expected to have a mine life of approximately 25 years, producing up to 800ktpa of zinc in concentrate after full stage four ramp up towards the end of 2025. The operation is due to produce 200kt of zinc concentrate in the first year of production.

The construction contract for the development and restoration of the 100% Shalkiya Zinc-owned Shalkiya mine in Kazakhstan was signed in July 2021. The US$107m contract anticipates 50 months of construction, with work finishing in 2025 on the 4Mtpa project producing an average of 92ktpa of zinc in concentrate.

 

Africa

The Kipushi zinc-copper project is located in DRC. Ivanhoe Mines owns a 68% interest in the project, with state-owned mining company Gécamines holding the other 32%. It has an expected mine life of 10 years producing 381ktpa of zinc concentrate at a grade of 59% zinc. It is expected to rank among the world's largest zinc mines once in production. AME anticipates the project will commence in 2023.

 

Australia

The Stockman project is located in Victoria, Australia. It is slated to process 1Mtpa of ore for ten years, producing copper and zinc concentrates. The Stockman deposits of Wilga and Currawong are estimated to contain 9.0Mt at 2.1% copper and 4.5% zinc in Reserves. The project is at the permitting stage and is not expected to start before 2023. 

Sorby Hills is a joint venture project between Boab Metals Limited (75%) and Henan Yuguang Gold Lead Co. Ltd (25%). The project is located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and is expected to enter production around 2023, producing 50kt of lead and 1.5Moz of silver as well as smaller amounts of zinc concentrate yearly for 10 years.