The total metal content in reserves/ resources of zinc is estimated to be 36 million tonnes. Rajasthan is endowed with the largest reserves/ resources of lead-zinc ore amounting to 670 million tonnes (89.44%).Mining of zinc concentrates has grown at a CAGR of 15.6% during FY14-18.
Production of the ores and concentrates has been the highest during FY18 (79.4% increase y-o-y) due to the ramp up of the underground mines which resulted in an increase in ore production. Mining of zinc will not be done via open cast operations from FY19 onwards as HZL has now fully transitioned into underground mining by converting and commissioning all its open cast mines into underground mines.
Production of primary zinc ingots has grown at a CAGR of 0.8% during FY14-18. Production has been the highest during FY18. The increase was driven by uniform availability of zinc concentrates during the year and debottlenecking of the smelter capacity. Zinc ingot production during FY19 has decreased by 15.2% y-o-y on account of lower availability of zinc concentrates. Zinc concentrates production was lower due to the closure of the open-cast mining.
During FY18, exports were also almost negligible due to the increase in demand in the domestic markets. India exports zinc ores and concentrates primarily to China. India has been a net exporter of refined zinc. There has been a 26% increase in zinc exports vis-à-vis to a 20.6% decline in imports y-o-y during FY18. Unwrought zinc is imported from South Korea, UAE, Australia, Spain and Taiwan and exported to China, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Nepal, UAE, USA, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Montenegro and Singapore. India will be the bright spot for global refined zinc production, as the country's largest producer, Hindustan Zinc continues to ramp up output, supported by declining operating costs and India's strong economic growth.
India's zinc production growth is forecast to outperform peers, averaging 4.8% annual growth over 2018-2022. The country's zinc production is forecasted to edge lower, from 606 kilo tonne in 2018 to 525 kilo tonne by 2027.