Zinc is today positioned as a material of choice for a sustainable society, since it gives greater durability to steel structures, can be recycled as many times as necessary, is essential for human health and is a source of sustainable energy, according to supported Renato Tozin, commercial manager of Nexa Resources, a producer of this mineral.
During his presentation in Heading to PERUMIN, entitled "Zinc for a sustainable future", he explained that zinc is the most important ally for the protection of structures against the threat of corrosion.
"Today, 60% of all the zinc consumed is used to protect steel from corrosion (…), which makes us greatly reduce the cost and the need for maintenance and plant shutdowns to replace corroded structures. Dip galvanization is by far the best option to protect steel", he argued.
Based on a report by NACE International, he revealed that 3.4% of the world’s GDP was spent on addressing corrosion in structures.
Applying this same percentage to Peru’s GDP for 2019 in order to project total expenditures on repair and replacement of corroded structures, he deduced that losses due to corrosion amounted to USD 5.6 billion.
"This same report tells us that with adequate protection techniques, such as hot-dip galvanizing, 25% of this amount could be saved, which in 2019 could have saved USD 1.4 billion, which could be allocated to health, education or transportation. In short, we could use resources in a better way for society and not be replacing structures that have been corroded", he said.
For this reason, he stressed that there is no other material that can offer such effective and profitable protection for steel than zinc itself.
Regarding the sustainability of zinc, Renato Tozin clarified that 40% of the zinc produced in the world comes from recycled or secondary zinc, according to data from the International Zinc Association (IZA).
"The recycling cycle is endless, both zinc and steel can be recycled over and over again without losing their physical or chemical properties," he said.
Zinc promotes food safety
He also explained that zinc can contribute to food safety and human health in a sustainable way.
Thus, he explained that 50% of the world's agricultural soils dedicated to cereal production are deficient in zinc.
He proposed the use of zinc micronutrients in areas where soils are naturally deficient in zinc to produce better quality food for the benefit of human health.
Clean energies will accelerate zinc use
Furthermore, the commercial manager of Nexa Resources, explained that the transition towards photovoltaic, wind and battery energy sources will require materials such as zinc from mining.
"It is possible that the European Union’s Green Pact and China's zero carbon commitment will boost the use of zinc in wind, solar and utility batteries," he said.
Nexa Resources is the world's fifth largest zinc producer and also produces copper, lead and silver.
It is currently listed on the New York, Toronto and Lima Stock Exchanges.
Its main shareholder is Votorantim S.A., and it has a staff of 12,000 people, including employees and contractors.