Lead2064 USD/Mt 111.5 (5.71%) (Last updated - January 18, 2024 07:42 AM UTC )
1873.5 - 2533
January 18, 2024 07:42 AM UTCData Powered by Stockdio. Data delayed by 5 minutes unless otherwise indicated.
lead has been known to be one of most useful metals for humankind since ages, thanks to its favourable qualities like extremely high malleability, high ductility and high resistance to corrosion. Lead can be easily rolled down into pipes and is resistant to water corrosion and due to these properties, it was used in water piping system in the ancient times.
However, even today, lead plays a vital role in our lives as it is used as the base material in lead-acid batteries. The lead-acid battery market is expected to see good growth in the coming decades as the world shifts to greener forms of energy. About 90% of global lead usage is accounted by the lead-acid battery market.
Other applications of lead are:
- Lead is used in organolead compounds like Tetramethyllead (TML) and Tetraethyllead (TEL), which are used as gasoline additives to improve quality (helps in increasing the octane number of the fuel)
- Lead is also used as a raw material in the paint industry
- The metal is used in the manufacturing of lead bullets
- Lead is used as a material for soldering
- Lead assists in reducing the wear and tear of tools and hence, is used as an antifriction metal and for the manufacturing of ball bearings.
- Its effectiveness as a shield against X-rays and gamma rays makes it suitable for reducing the exposure against nuclear radiations.
Extraction and Sources:
Lead is normally associated with other metals like zinc and silver in its ores (galena, cerussite and anglesite out of which galena is the most prominent) and hence mining is undertaken to extract these ores from the Earth’s crust. However, only 50% of the lead is extracted from the ore; rest of the lead is extracted from recycling discarded lead-acid batteries.
Supply and Demand:
During the global outbreak of Covid-19 in the year 2020, operations around the world became stagnant, bringing all the economic activities to a standstill. With almost next to nil transportation happening, the demand for lead-acid battery took a hit and the price for lead collapsed to around US$1,600 per ton. However, the prices rose sharply and rallied to the levels of US$2,450 per ton during February-March 2022 on back of the rally in base metals as economies opened up.
However, the major impact on the long-term pricing of lead is dependent on the global adoption of electric vehicles as this will increase the demand of EVs’ peripherals including battery. The EV revolution has been gaining traction, especially after the Paris Agreement on climate change came into force in 2016, with a target to limit global warming to well below 2 degree Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degree Celsius by mid-century.
ASX Lead companies
Frequently Asked Questions
For lead extraction, first the powered ore (normally Galena) is concentrated to obtain the ore rich in Lead (II) sulfide PbS. Then Lead (II) sulfide is roasted in the furnace to obtain Lead (II) oxide PbO, Lead (II) sulfate (PbSO4) along with Lead (II) sulfide PbS. After this process, smelting is undertaken to produce impure lead metal. After this, liquation is done to remove the infusible impurities. Further, desilverisation process removes silver and finally, electrolytic refining is done to obtain pure lead.
As recycling is the source of more than 50% of lead, many companies are associated with the recycling of lead in Australia. Some of the key players established in Australia are:
- Nyrstar Hobart smelter – It is amongst the largest primary lead smelter in the world and is situated on the western bank of the Derwent River Estuary in Hobart, Tasmania
- Enirgi Power Storage in Sydney
- Wagga, HydroMet Corporation in New South Wales.
Lead is used in producing clean energy and some of the examples are:
- Lead is used as the main raw material for starter batteries in electric vehicles
- Lead is used to coat solar panels to enhance reliability and longevity.
- Internal lead-sheathed cables are used to deliver electric energy from wind turbines.
During early times, lead was used in water pipelines as it was comparatively easy to transform lead into a sheet and then into tubes, thanks to the metal’s amazingly high malleability and good ductility. On top of that lead acetate commonly known as "sugar of lead" was also used to sweeten food items as well as wine. However, based on the recommendation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US government banned the use of leaded pipe and solder in new plumbing systems in 1986.