Facts about Lead

Chemical and Physical Properties

Chemical Symbol Pb (plumbum)
Atomic Number 82
Chemical Series Poor metals
Atomic mass 207.2
Density 11340 kg/m3
Appearance Bluish white
Melting Point 327 °C
Boiling Point 1749 °C
Heat of Vaporisation 177.7 kJ/mol
Heat of Fusion 4.8 kJ/mol
Specific Heat Capacity        129 J/(kg.K)
Electrical conductivity 4.81 MS/m
Thermal conductivity 35.3W/(m.K)

Notable Characteristics

Lead has a bright lustre and is a dense, ductile, very soft, highly malleable, bluish-white metal that has poor electrical conductivity. It is also highly resistant to corrosion and because of this property is used to contain corrosive liquids (e.g. sulphuric acid).


Humans have used lead for at least 7,000 years mainly because deposits containing lead are widespread and it is easy to extract and work with. Lead was mentioned in the book of Exodus. Alchemists thought that lead was the oldest metal and associated it with the planet Saturn. Lead pipes bearing the insignia of Roman emperors are the symbol in service today in some countries. Lead’s symbol Pb is an abbreviation of its Latin name plumbum. The English word plumbing also derives from this Latin root.


Lead is usually found in ore with zinc, silver and copper and is extracted together with these metals. The main lead mineral is galena (PbS). Other common varieties include cerussite (PbCO3) and angelsite (PbSO4).

Lead Statistics

Zinc and lead are the two most widely used non-ferrous metals after aluminium and copper and are vital materials in everyday life.

ILZSG monthly data is listed below. Detailed information on lead and zinc supply, demand, trade, stocks and prices are available on the Group's 68 page monthly 'Lead and Zinc Statistical Bulletin'. For further information please select 'Publications' from the main menu.

Over 2014-2016 global mined lead supply shrank by roughly 500,000 tonnes or 10%. This year, consultancy Wood Mackenzie forecast a market deficit of 115,000 tonnes and 56,000 tonnes in 2019 after a 119,000 shortfall last year. More than 50% of annual lead supply is from the secondary market and in the US as much as 80% is recycled material.

Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group http://www.ilzsg.org.