Description: Zinc is also known as spelter, is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2. Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and has five stable isotopes. The most exploited zinc ore is sphalerite, a zinc sulfide. The largest exploitable deposits are found in Australia, Canada, and the United States. Zinc production includes froth flotation of the ore, roasting, and final extraction using electricity (electrowinning).
Occurrence: The element is normally found in association with other base metals such as copper and lead in ores. Zinc is a chalcophile , meaning the element has a low affinity for oxides and prefers to bond with sulfides. Chalcophiles formed as the crust solidified under the reducing conditions of the early Earth's atmosphere. Sphalerite, which is a form of zinc sulfide, is the most heavily mined zinc-containing ore because its concentrate contains 60–62% zinc.
Locations: An estimated 10 million tonnes of lead/zinc veins are spread over eight states of Nigeria. Proven reserves in three prospects in the east-central area are 5 million tonnes. Lead/Zinc deposit kind be found in the follow states in Nigeria viz; Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Abia, Ebonyi, Bauchi and Cross River and Enugu.
Specifications: This varies from one buyer to the other. However generally most buyers will prefer the specifications stated in the table below. The lead content could vary from one buyer to the other, but generally for most importers, the other constituent should not be more than the stated percentage.
F- < 0.10%
Cd- < 0.05%
Pb - <6%
Uses: The main end-uses for zinc are as follows:
1. Galvanizing: 59% - cars and construction
2. Diecasting: 16% - motor housings, door furniture, toys
3. Brass & Bronze: 10% - taps and pipes
4. Rolled zinc: 6.5% - roofing and guttering in some parts of Europe, coffins in southern Europe, and batteries
5. Chemicals: 6.0% - tyres and zinc cream
6. Miscellaneous: 2.5% - includes dust in batteries
Export market: The market for Zinc ore especially the overseas market in China is large, expanding and sustainable because of the numerous uses of ore. Buyers usually would like to secure steady source of supply of these products. An exporter that is able to secure a contract at the right price would have an uphill task meeting the demand of the buyer because the output from the mines in Nigeria is low due to the use of crude implement. Other market includes India, Thailand and some European countries like Germany, Spain and Belgium.
Export Price: Depending on the percentage purity of the Zinc ore and the prevailing London metal exchange (lme.com) price, the FOB price of Zinc ore could vary from US400-USD600/MT.
Local price: Depending on the percentage purity and of the Zinc, the local market price at the loading point could vary from NGN30,000-NGN50,000/MT