October 28, 2022: Global demand for refined lead metal is forecast to increase by 0.8% to 12.42 million tonnes this year after rising by 4.6% in 2021, according to latest forecasts published on October 24 by the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG).
Demand for refined lead metal is expected to increase by only 1.4% to 12.60 MT in 2023, the group said.
However, Farid Ahmed, vice president for global strategy at Ace Green Recycling said; “I don’t expect the LME price for lead to move from levels around $1,850 to $1,900 a tonne for the next year or so. Instead, the premium will go up reflecting the increased cost of energy and the strong dollar.”
Meanwhile, world lead mine supply is set to remain “more or less unchanged” this year at 4.6 MT, but output is expected to rise in 2023 to 4.7 MT.
Increases in Brazil, India, Mexico, Pakistan and Sweden this year will be largely offset by a substantial fall in Australia, ILZSG said. Reductions are also anticipated in Greece, Kazakhstan and Peru.
Global refined lead output in 2022 is expected to fall in a number of countries, most notably Russia, Ukraine and Germany (where the reopening of the Stolberg smelter has been delayed) and Italy — following Ecobat’s suspension of two secondary smelters with a combined capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year.
Production is also forecast to fall in South Korea, Tukey, the US and Australia, where Nyrstar has started a planned 55-day maintenance outage at its Port Pirie smelter.
ILZSG said its forecast rise in global supply in 2023 will be driven mainly by increases in Brazil, India, Kazakhstan and Australia — where Galena mining’s new 95,000 tonne per year Abra mine is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter.
On August 22, the ILZSG said the global market for refined lead metal was in deficit by 22 kilotonnes during the first half of 2022, according to preliminary figures.