Global projection of lead-zinc supply from known resources
© 2018 by the authors. Lead and zinc are used extensively in the construction and automotive industries, and require sustainable supply. In order to understand the future availability of lead and zinc, we have projected global supplies on a country-by-country basis from a detailed global assessment of mineral resources for 2013. The model GeRS-DeMo was used to create projections of lead and zinc production from ores, as well as recycling for lead. Our modelling suggests that lead and zinc production from known resources is set to peak within 15 years (lead 2025, zinc 2031). For lead, the total supply declines relatively slowly post peak due to recycling. If additional resources are found, these peaks would shift further into the future. These results suggest that lead and zinc consumers will need to plan for the future, potentially by: seeking alternative supplies (e.g., mine tailings, smelter/refinery slags); obtaining additional value from critical metals contained in lead-zinc ore deposits to counter lower grade ores; identifying potential substitutes; redesigning their products; or by contributing to the development of recycling industries.
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