Zinc is a component found in the earth’s crust in mineral deposits of ore. These deposits may be near the earth’s surface or deep underground.
Most zinc production comes from underground mining. Zinc-mining areas of the world include China, Canada, Australia and Latin America. The main minerals that contain zinc are sphalerite, marmatite and smithsonite. Zinc production from ore to metal involves different stages. The process of zinc mining removes the ore from the earth. However, it is necessary to crush the ore and then separate the zinc from the other minerals. Zinc recovery from minerals can involve sintering and a pyrometallurgical process that requires a smelting furnace. Another technique is a hydrometallurgical process.
Zinc is known in the periodic table as Zn and is a metal. It is bluish gray in color and has 30 electrons. In 1746, Andreas Marggraf successfully isolated zinc from calamine.
Zinc is useful for the fabrication of many alloys like brass and bronze. Ii also has applications in galvanizing, which is coating steel with zinc to protect it from corrosion. Some other applications include its use in electrical components, die-casting, plastics, solder and rubber. Zinc also has biological and pharmaceutical uses, such as a dietary supplement.