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01 January 1970  |   Views  |  

Zinc or spelter (which may also refer to zinc alloys), is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2. Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and has five stable isotopes. The most common zinc ore is sphalerite (zinc blende), a zinc sulfide mineral. The largest mineable amounts are found in Australia, Asia, and the United States. Zinc production includes froth flotation of the ore, roasting, and final extraction using electricity (electrowinning). Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, has been used since at least the 10th century BC. Impure zinc metal was not produced in large scale until the 13th century in India, while the metal was unknown to Europe until the end of the 16th century. Alchemists burned zinc in air to form what they called "philosopher's wool" or "white snow".


Mining and Processing of

Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron, aluminium, and copper with an annual production of about 12 million tonnes. The world's largest zinc producer is Nyrstar, a merger of the Australian OZ Minerals and the Belgian Umicore. About 70% of the world's zinc originates from mining, while the remaining 30% comes from recycling secondary zinc. Commercially pure zinc is known as Special High Grade, often abbreviated SHG, and is 99.995% pure. Worldwide, 95% of the zinc is mined from sulfidic ore deposits, in which sphalerite ZnS is nearly always mixed with the sulfides of copper, lead and iron.There are zinc mines throughout the world, with the main mining areas being China, Australia and Peru. China produced 29% of the global zinc output in 2010.


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