According to the report, at the end of 2010 the European region held a 2.4 percent share of global zinc reserves with European zinc mine production standing at an estimated 914.9 thousand metric tons during the following year. Ireland was a major contributor with a share of 38.4 percent in 2011 while Russia, Sweden and Poland contributed 29.9 percent, 21.2 percent and 10.6 percent respectively, according to Mining Reporter.
Zinc metal consumption in Europe stood at an estimated 360.7 mt in 2011 with Russia accounting for more than 70 percent. Russian construction and infrastructure industries accounted for an increased demand in zinc, which is used to provide a corrosion-resistant plating of steel in a process known as dip galvanizing.
Russia and Iran are working together to develop the world’s largest zinc deposit at the Mehdiabad zinc and lead deposit in the Iranian province of Yazd. The partnership is playing an important role in the present-day European zinc mining industry. Mehdiabad’s total ore reserves are estimated to be approximately 394 million metric tons, with an average zinc grade of 4.2 percent. Russia’ Rostekhnologii Corporation and Iranian Bank Saderat Iran are managing and operating the project, which has an estimated investment of around $1.2 billion, according to Mining Reporter.
Europe is currently seeing a rise in electricity prices, due to new EU legislation on carbon dioxide emissions expected to be implemented from 2013. This may cause problems for the zinc industry, as the purchase price of emissions rights will increase, leading to higher electricity costs.