The price of zinc is rising and it will push up the price of everything from renewable energy to mobile phones.
- Zinc is used in numerous common products, including mobile phones
- The cost of renewable energy projects and some electronic products may increase as key metal prices go up
- Industry experts say it’s likely the price will continue to rise amid a supply crisis in Europe
But it is good news for miners — Australia is the world’s second-biggest producer.
The price of zinc on the London Metal Exchange hit a 14-year high in October and is holding near that price.
It is one of many metals that are going up in price and that is pushing up the cost of renewable energy systems in particular.
Since the beginning of 2020 the price of the PV-grade polysilicon used in solar panels has more than quadrupled, steel has increased by 50 per cent, copper by 60 per cent and aluminium by 80 per cent.
The rising prices could also push up the cost of mobile phones, which require many of the same resources.
Pete Lau from phone manufacturer OnePlus told Business Insider last year that “prices across the supply chain, from raw materials to 5G chips, are all rising”.
Stuart Dickson from exploration company Variscan expects the rising price of zinc will speed up the search for more deposits in Australia.(Supplied: Variscan Mines)
Variscan Mines managing director Stewart Dickson said the zinc price could climb yet.
The surging cost of energy in Europe has forced some smelters to shut down, tightening up supplies.
Belgium cut its production in half midway through last year.
“Supply is projected to fall by 3 per cent a year, but demand will double by 2030,” Mr Dickson said.
“So the price is set to rise.”
His company is involved in two zinc projects in Spain and other projects in Chile and Australia.
The price of zinc has been going up for almost a year now and is likely to stay high for a while.(Supplied: Galvanizers Association of Australia)
What else could go up?
Zinc is used as a protective coating on steel, combines with copper to make brass and is in chemical compounds in rubber and paints.