Lead is a corrosion-resistant, soft, dense, and low-melting metal used as a significant component of the automotive battery.
Lead is a main group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb (Latin: plumbum) and atomic number eighteen (18). Lead ore has been used by humans for a variety of purposes for more than five thousand (5,000) years.
Lead is the fifth-most-consumed metal, by tonnage, after iron, aluminum, copper and zinc.
There are various types of lead ore but the most important ore mineral is galena, followed by anglesite and cerussite. Lead and zinc minerals often occur in the same deposits, and the two are frequently mined together and then separated.
The primary use of lead is in lead-acid batteries for motor vehicles (80% of total use). It is also used in a variety of other applications such as stationary batteries (for backup power), pigments and ammunition.
As it is water resistant, lead is also used in paints to develop long-lasting roofing material and in the plumbing industry. It is extensively used in number of commercial applications such as health technology, insulation & cabling, weights, and soldering.
Lead can be gotten from two (2) source namely primary source (mines) and secondary source (recycling). It is extracted from underground mines and usually found in traces of different metals such as galena, silver, copper, zinc, cadmium, antimony, and arsenic.
It has high economical value and is relatively economical to produce. Total world lead reserves were an estimated 90.4 million tonnes in 2019, as calculated by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Lead can also be recovered from recycled products like car battery. Much of the lead used in new products was recovered and recycled from other products. Lead from lead-acid batteries is one of the most recycled metals in the world. All of the lead contained in these types of batteries can be recovered and recycled for use in new batteries.
About thirty-four (34) industrial minerals deposits have been identified in Nigeria and one of such is Lead ore. It is estimated that Nigeria has over ten million (10,000,000) tons of lead-zinc deposit. Nigeria is well endowed in lead and zinc which occurs as ores of galena and sphalerite in the cretaceous sediments of the Benue trough spanning the South-east and North.
Lead ore is mined in Akwanga, Nassarawa Eggon and Wamba all in Nassarawa State. They are found in Jos in Plateau State, Alkaliri Local Government in Bauchi State and Filia in Gombe State. Taraba, Kaduna and Kogi.
According to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), export records showed that Nigeria exported forty-nine thousand, eight hundred and sixty- eight (49,868) tonnes of lead ore between 2013 and 2017.
Increase in demand in automotive industry to manufacture batteries drives the global lead mining market. Focus of lead producers to develop new applications for lead presents a substantial growth opportunity to the industry players.
In 2019 the top importers of Lead ores and concentrates were China ($2.52B), South Korea ($1.29B), Germany ($450M), Canada ($311M), and Netherlands ($283M).
The return on investment on the export of lead ore is estimated between ten to twenty percent (10%- 20%) per transaction and lead time of between one to two (1-2) months.
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