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China 2009 lead and zinc output to grow

China is expected to produce 3.6-3.7 million tonnes of lead in 2009, up 12-15 percent from last year, while zinc output is expected to grow 7-8 percent to 4.2-4.25 million tonnes, an industry official said.

world Updated: Nov 14, 2009 10:30 IST

China is expected to produce 3.6-3.7 million tonnes of lead in 2009, up 12-15 percent from last year, while zinc output is expected to grow 7-8 percent to 4.2-4.25 million tonnes, an industry official said.

"The jump in recycled lead output is the main factor behind the increase," said Zhao Cuiqing, director of the lead and zinc department of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.

Zhao told an industry conference on Saturday that lead and zinc were the first nonferrous metals to be hit by the global financial crisis, but they were also the first to recover.

Monthly lead output surged 100,000 tonnes in March and it has has stayed between 330,000 to 350,000 tonnes ever since, he said.

Chinese lead output came in at 342,000 tonnes in September, up 7.9 percent year-on-year, even though a spate of poisoning scandals forced the government to launch a nationwide crackdown on polluting smelters.

Output in August reached a new record of 364,800 tonnes.

China began constructing another 1.16 million tonnes of lead smelting capacity this year, and it is expected to go into operation over 2010 and 2011.

But Zhao said China's zinc makers were facing overcapacity pressures, with stockpiles now riding high.

New projects with a total capacity of 770,000 tonnes, expected to be launched this year, may now be postponed until next year, depending on raw material supplies and treatment fees, Zhao said.