BMR Lead and Zinc tailings

Lead and Zinc

Lead

The primary use of lead today has changed considerably since the 1900 when it was used for ammunition, burial vault liners, ceramic glazes, leaded glass and crystal, paints or other protective coatings, pewter, and water lines and pipes. The demand for lead started to increase with the growth of motorized vehicles which required the use of the lead-acid battery.

By the early 2000s, with the increased growth of the motor car, more than 80 percent of lead consumption is in the production of lead-acid batteries. Today, lead continues to be used in the manufacture of ammunition, as well oxides in glass and ceramics, casting metals, and sheet lead.  

Number of road vehicles produced annually

Zinc

Zinc is currently the fourth most widely consumed metal in the world after iron, aluminum, and copper. It has strong anticorrosive properties and bonds well with other metals. Consequently, about one-half of the zinc that is produced is used in zinc galvanizing, which is the process of adding thin layers of zinc to iron or steel to prevent rusting.

The next leading use of zinc is as an alloy; the zinc is combined with copper (to form brass) and with other metals to form materials that are used in automobiles, electrical components, and household fixtures. A third significant use of zinc is in the production of zinc oxide (the most important zinc chemical by production volume), which is used in rubber manufacturing and as a protective skin ointment.

Zinc is also important for health. It is a necessary element for the proper growth and development of humans, animals, and plants. For example, zinc sulphate heptahydrate, one of BMR’s products is widely used in the agricultural industry as a fertiliser.