METALS & MINERALS

Zinc and Lead

Glencore is active in the primary production, marketing, and recycling of zinc and lead.

We extract and process zinc and lead ore in Australia, South America, Kazakhstan, and Canada. We smelt and refine zinc and lead ore in processing plants in Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK, and Kazakhstan. Zinc and lead recycling takes place in Europe and North America.

We have a global marketing reach and sell zinc and lead concentrates and metals as well as valuable by-products such as sulphuric acid.

Zinc and lead in figures - 2021

  • 2.7 mt

    of zinc metal and concentrates sold via the marketing business

  • 1,118 kt

    of zinc produced at our assets

  • 1.1 mt

    of lead metal and concentrates sold via the marketing business

  • 222 kt

    of lead produced at our assets

Uses of zinc and lead

Zinc

A highly versatile metal, zinc can be found in astronomical instruments from the Middle Ages, in space suits and in almost every single household today – in the circuit boards of mobile phones, in ointments, or in cutlery, to name just a few. 

Zinc is mainly used for the coating (= galvanising) of steel and iron to protect them from rust and corrosion. This makes zinc and important material in buildings, vehicles, in household and electrical appliances, but also in the infrastructure required for solar energy generation, as well as offshore wind farms, but also.

Because of their strength and flexibility, zinc alloys are often used to make industrial die castings – such as the ones needed to produce vehicle or machine parts. And since Zinc is also needed to produce brass and bronze, it is often a component of musical instruments, too.  

Zinc oxide is mainly used in the production of rubber. Zinc sulphite, on the other hand, is used in X-ray screens and as a pigment. Other applications of zinc can be found in the pharmaceutical (for medicines) and cosmetics (e.g., creams) industries.

Lead

Lead is very versatile and adaptable, and for centuries has been used in many different applications.

Lead is a highly flexible raw material used in various industries such as automotive, electronics and aerospace. A major application for lead is in vehicle batteries – from traditional internal combustion engines to the batteries which support safety mechanisms in electric vehicles.

Lead is also used in storage technologies, for example in data centres and telecommunication systems, as well as in emergency power generators for hospitals and other vital services.  

Lead plays a key role in recycling other metals. Its carrier properties make it an efficient and effective enabler for recycling non-ferrous metals, from gallium used in mobile phones to the platinum in catalytic convertors. Lead itself can also be recycled indefinitely.

Its high density makes lead an ideal shield against radiation used in medical imaging technologies – ensuring that patients and staff are protected when undergoing vital diagnostic tests, including X-rays and CT scans.

Zinc and lead assets

Our combination of mines and smelters means we can produce, process and market zinc and lead across the world.

Kazzinc

Kazakhstan

Kazzinc (69.7%) is a large-scale fully integrated producer of zinc, lead, copper and gold.
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McArthur River Mine

is a world-class zinc-lead mine in the Northern Territory.
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Mount Isa Mines

Mount Isa Mines, which also includes the George Fisher zinc–lead mine and the nearby Lady Loretta zinc – lead mine in Queensland. It also produces lead/silver bullion refined at Britannia Refined Metals in the UK.
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Glencore Port Operations

Our Port Operations business is an export gateway for the mineral resources of north-west Queensland.
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See also Glencore in Australia

Nordenham

Germany

Nordenham is zinc production plant, located in the north of Germany.
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Portovesme

Italy

Portovesme is a lead and zinc smelting and refining facility, based in Sardinia, that processes a range of primary and secondary materials.
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Asturiana de Zinc

Spain

Asturiana de Zinc is one of the world’s largest zinc smelters, processing zinc concentrates from our own mines as well as third parties.
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Britannia Refined Metals

United Kingdom

Britannia Refined Metals is the largest primary lead producer in Europe, producing primary lead from Mount Isa and third party lead/silver bullion.

Kidd Operations

Canada

Kidd Operations is one of the deepest base metal mines in the world.
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Matagami mine

Canada

Matagami mine is a zinc–lead mine in Matagami, Quebec.
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Brunswick lead smelter

Canada

a primary lead–silver smelter
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CEZinc

Canada

CEZinc (25%) is an electrolytic zinc smelter in Quebec.
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Visit Glencore in Canada

Los Quenuales

Peru

Los Quenuales owns and operates mines in the central Highlands of Peru.
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Volcan

Peru

Volcan (23%) is a leading producer of mined lead, zinc and silver in concentrates.
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Global presence

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Introducing Mount Isa Mines, Australia

Introducing Mount Isa Mines, Australia
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Introducing Mount Isa Mines, Australia

Leadership

Marketing leads
Jyothish George (metals) Nick Popovic (concentrates)
Industrial leads
Aline Cote Denis Hamel Nick Popovic (Zinc smelters)