The 9th edition of the International Symposium on Lead and Zinc Processing PbZn2020 took place in San Diego from 23rd to 27th February. Over 400 delegates from all over the world gathered to this 9th edition to exchange on current smelting and recycling technologies for lead and zinc, as well as on emerging technologies. PbZn2020 was integrated into the TMS’ annual conference. IZA represented the global zinc industry with a plenary presentation on its material stewardship program for zinc.
“Users, regulators and the broad public today expect to be informed on recycling rates, recycled content, carbon footprint and responsible sourcing of materials in products. The information provided must be quantitative, up to date and credible. With its programs, IZA ensures that relevant information on zinc and on the zinc industry’s performance is available.” says Sabina Grund, IZA’s Manager, Sustainable Development.
At main the PbZn2020 conference, more than 100 presentations covered all aspects on the extractive metallurgy of zinc and lead. In many presentations a focus was given on approaches to increase the circularity of zinc by either integrating more secondary zinc containing raw materials made of used zinc products or by processing wastes for metals recovery. Furthermore, ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were discussed and experts also presented research on alternative reductants such as used tires or the use of solar power as energy source for zinc smelting.
According to Martin van Leeuwen, Manager Technical Market Development at IZA, this 9th edition gave a positive outlook for the zinc industry: “PbZn2020 linked the right experts to improve zinc recycling technologies and close the loop further.” He also highlighted IZA’s key role in the sector: “When new alloys and alloy coatings are used, such as zinc-aluminum-magnesium alloys for corrosion protection or zinc-aluminum-copper alloys for die casting, it is in IZA´s interest to know that end-of-life recycling is considered right from the beginning to ensure a sustainable use. Multi-metal products are complex to recycle, so the industry has to strive for closing the loop for all metals involved, whether it is zinc, lead, copper, minor metals or iron”
Martin van Leeuwen, Manager Technical Market Development at IZA: “PbZn2020 linked the right experts to improve zinc recycling technologies and close the loop further.”
In addition to the conference’s main program, a one-day Zinc Short Course was organised. The International Zinc Association supported TMS by inviting meaningful speakers and contributing presentations e.g. on uses and future uses of zinc. The course aimed at teaching about zinc smelting, zinc recycling, zinc uses and sustainability of zinc. Several speakers from zinc companies, universities and research institutions and organizations gave relevant presentations on basic principles and plant practice of zinc smelting and recycling. About 30 participants used the opportunity to learn and exchange with well-known experts from the sector.