Nyrstar has a market leading position in lead, producing a number of refined products for market. This includes refined market lead (99.97% and 99.99%), as well as lead-antimony alloys, copperised-lead alloys, calcium lead alloys and calcium tin-lead alloys.
Lead’s primary use is for the production of batteries, with over 80% of world production going into the lead-acid batteries, which play an important part in the starter mechanism for automobiles.
The remaining 20% goes towards end-uses including underwater cable sheathing, artilleries, glassware, roof sheeting and radiation shielding.
Lead is also a mainstay of key renewable energy sources.
How is lead produced?
Lead concentrate is essentially a mineral called galena, which predominantly contains lead and sulphur. Smelting converts this into a metallic lead form.
The technology of Nyrstar’s lead smelting process includes top submerged lance (TSL) furnace, blast furnace, lead refinery, slag fuming, electrowin copper, and solvent extraction/electrowin (SXEW).
TSL and blast furnace operations
The top submerged lance (TSL) and blast furnace operations are the actual smelting part of the process and involve the high temperature reduction of sinter with metallurgical coke to produce a crude lead bullion and slag. Lead bullion contains small amounts of other metals including silver doré, gold and copper.
All of these elements are extracted from the lead during the various refining processes and become valuable marketable metals.
Two Grades Primary Lead (Nyrstar BHAS) are registered in the London Metal Exchange (LME).