Zinc is one of the strategic non-ferrous metal next only to Aluminium and Copper. It plays a very important role in country’s economy and development. It finds use in applications like galvanizing of iron and steel; die-casting alloys, brasses, dry cells, agriculture, chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc., with industrial development in India use of zinc has increased considerably, however, specific consumption is much lower as compared to other developing countries.
The most important raw material for the production of zinc is the sulphide ore from which zinc is extracted either through pyro-metallurgical route or through hydro metallurgical – Roast – Leach – Electrowin (RLE) route. At present nearly 80 - 85% of the world’s production of primary zinc is through hydrometallurgical route, the balance is through pyro – metallurgical route.
Zinc’s largest use is in corrosion protection. Galvanising is the main method of protection against corrosion of steel, i.e. the steel is coated with a layer of zinc in order to protect it from decay.
Brasses are alloys of copper and zinc, and they have good mechanical properties and good corrosion resistance.
Diecastings are precision castings that can be mass-produced. Rolled zinc is used for architectural and building applications, and for dry cell batteries. Zinc oxide has its main use in tyres and rubber products. Many other zinc chemicals are used in a wide range of applications.