Zinc to zoom on infra and rail projects
Green added that the current prices of zinc were ruling at $2200 per tonne.
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Andrew Green, executive director of IZA, told ET that despite the ongoing trade war, zinc’s fundamentals are robust. “Fundamentals of zinc are quite good, looking at the deficit of zinc supply. If you look at the LME (London Metal Exchange), stocks are relatively low, which possibly suggest zinc price should be much higher than where they are now,” Green said.
The trade war creates artificial situation where you have lower price because of the consumer index being down and the fear of what’s going to happen. This has led to the weakening of prices, he said.
Green added that the current prices of zinc were ruling at $2200 per tonne, which market intelligence reports believe could go from a low of $ 2,500 per tonne to $ 3,200 per tonne.
The closure of Century mine in Australia and Lisheen mine in Ireland and lower production in Glencore’s mine will support prices, said Green.
Electric vehicles, automobiles, infrastructure projects, consumer durables, renewable energy, dry cell batteries and zinc fertilisers will be the growth drivers for zinc in India, he said.
According to Green, galvanised electric vehicle and automobiles will increase safety, decrease weight and increase fuel efficiency. He added that they have observed 200 per cent growth in consumption of zinc in fertilisers in the last 7-8 years. “In India, 45 per cent of the soil is deficient in zinc. We are exploring if we can add zinc sulphate with neem urea,” Green said.
Crop trials for the use of zinc-coated urea have been done by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Indo Gulf.
India consumes over 850,000-900,000 tonnes of zinc each year, with annual growth rate of 7-8 per cent, according to the industry. The global consumption is 13 million tonnes per year, with China, US and Europe being the major market.
Green said the demand for zinc will also come from the railways, which is likely to use zinc-coated rails. Atmospheric corrosion is a big challenge for the railways which has a network of about 200,000 km. “Ideally, these rail tracks, which are made of steel, should last for 10-12 years, but because of corrosion they last only for 3-4 years, which is a huge loss. IZA has transferred technology to Indian Railways to increase service life of the tracks by two to three times than the ordinary life,” Green said.
The IZA will be organizing an International Galvanizing Conference in Delhi stating on September 19 where Green said , international experts, zinc manufacturers, galvanizers, first and end users of galvanized products, including industry executives from railways, highway authorities, architects and design consultants would come.