FOCUS: Mid-sized zinc miners ramp-up production while prices continue to shine

Small-to-mid-sized zinc mining companies are taking advantage of soaring zinc prices and rock-bottom treatment charges (TCs) by targeting increased production in 2017 to capture a continuing bull market for the metal.

The zinc market is slated for a substantial 250,000 tonne deficit this year, according to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG), on the back of the continued absence of Glencore’s major mine since 2015. The effect of this is favourable conditions for smaller zinc mines to ramp up. “We do believe that we have an opportunity with the favourable market conditions – meaning high zinc prices, relatively low TCs – to really focus on extracting maximum value from the remaining North American assets,” Nyrstar ceo Hilmar Rode said at an investor call on Thursday February 9, explaining why the company was considering the restart of its 30,000 tpy zinc-in-concentrate Myra Falls mine.  London Metal Exchange three-month zinc prices rose by 51% last year making it one of the commodity market’s top performers. So far this year, the price is up a further 11% over $2,850 per tonne. Aside from peaks...


Archie Hunter

February 16, 2017

17:15 GMT