Facts about Zinc

Chemical and Physical Properties

Chemical Symbol Zn
Atomic Number 30
Chemical Series Transition metals
Atomic mass 65.38
Density 7140kg/m3
Appearance Bluish pale grey
Melting Point 420°C
Boiling Point 907°C
Heat of Vaporisation 115.3 kJ/mol
Heat of Fusion 7.3 kJ/mol
Specific Heat Capacity        390 J/(kg.K)
Electrical conductivity 16.6 106(m.ohm)
Thermal conductivity 116 W(m.K)

Notable Characteristics

Zinc is a moderately reactive metal that will combine with oxygen and other non-metals and will react with dilute acids to release hydrogen.


The earliest use of zinc was in brass where it is alloyed with copper. This use probably arose accidentally when zinc-containing raw materials were reduced with charcoal in a copper crucible. These developments cannot be precisely dated but were well developed by 20 BC when the Romans used brass in coinage. Experimental observations in Greece and Babylon predate this widespread use by at least two centuries. It is likely that the bronzes that lent their name to the archaeological age of 3000 BC – 1000 BC contained some zinc by accident or design. Brass was also known in India and China early in their recorded histories.


The world is naturally abundant in zinc. It is estimated that the first mile of the earth’s crust under land contains 224,000,000 million tonnes of zinc. Such estimate, however, takes no account of whether or not it is economic or environmentally acceptable to exploit these resources.

The most common zinc mineral is sphalerite also known as zinc blende. This mineral crystallises from the hydrothermal solution as pure zinc sulphide and is found in almost all currently mined zinc deposits. Zinc is often mined in association with lead, copper, silver and other metals.

Zinc 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 pages monthly 'Lead and Zinc Statistical Bulletin'. For further information please select 'Publications' from the main menu.

World Refined Zinc Supply and Usage 2005 - 2010
000 tonnes 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2009 2010 2009/2010
  Jan-Feb Nov Dec Jan Feb
Mine Production 10146 10447 11122 11677 11352 1595 1828 1006.3 1081.6 931.9 896.6
Metal Production 10221 10655 11360 11655 11287 1646 1991 1043.6 1069.5 1004.8 986.1
Metal Usage 10609 11015 11307 11436 10836 1447 1884 974.8 1014.4 927.5 956.9

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