Speaking at ResourceStocks Sydney last week, CSA Global’s Mark Allen said there had been a fairly consistent deficit in zinc since the 400,000 tonne per annum Century mine in Queensland closed in 2015.
“There’s absolutely no doubt the market will be tight for a few years,” he said.
“It’s a good opportunity for the high-grade, lower-tonnage space.”
The zinc price peaked at US$3600 per tonne in February, but has pulled back to $3035/t.
The supply response from the industry has started to ramp up.
Red River Resources made its first shipment of zinc concentrate from its refurbished Thalanga project in Queensland earlier this year, while MMG’s Dugald River mine in Queensland achieved commercial production on May 1 and is expected to produce 120,000-140,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate this year.
New Century Resources is also working on restarting production at Century – albeit at a lower rate than the original operation – in the September quarter.
Heron Resources managing director Wayne Taylor told MNN that construction at the Woodlawn zinc project in New South Wales had just tipped over 50%.
He said the project remained on track for commissioning in December.
“We still see the zinc market as being very strong,” Taylor said.
“We’re certainly not seeing any major surpluses.”
Outside Australia, Ironbark Zinc will be aiming not to miss the window to get funded and into development.
The company has spent $50 million on its Citronen zinc project, which is now construction-ready.
“Hopefully we’ll make the next cut of producers,” Ironbark managing director Jonathan Downes told ResourceStocks Sydney last week.