A little known but highly important metal used in a range of products is Zinc. Zinc has an array of applications, from it’s possibly most well known use in sunscreen all the way to outdoor furniture, tools, aircraft, electric vehicles and garage doors.
Zinc is a key mineral used in the galvanizing of Steel and is also used in SMCs Galvalume roof sheeting and coil with aluminum at a ratio of 55/45. This gives the product extreme protective qualities such as rust resistance through two mechanisms. Firstly it physically acts as a protective coating, which forms a barrier so that water cannot reach the weaker steel. Secondly, due to the chemical properties of Zinc, a reaction occurs which is called a ‘Sacrificial anode’ this has the effect of even if this protective coating is scratched the exposed steel will still be protected by the remaining zinc.
Currently the global supply of Zinc is in a precarious position. Prices have been steadily increasing, with investors making a significant amount of money through trading with prices having risen by more than 17% this year on the back of high demand with no foreseeable opening of new mines for at least two years, perhaps more. This has lead many analysts to believe that the price could rise a further 15% before the end of the year. The mine pictures below is one of the largest in Canada in is due to close this year.
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Dominick F.//SMC Editor