Key facts

  • In 2017, Canada ranked eighth in world production of refined lead
  • The primary use of lead is in lead-acid batteries for automobiles and other vehicles
  • Over 95% of the lead contained in batteries is recovered and recycled for use in new batteries

Production

In 2017, Canadian mines produced an estimated 14,000 tonnes of lead in concentrate. Canada operates two primary lead and four recycled lead smelters. Because of the significant recycling of lead-acid batteries, recycled lead accounted for 55% of Canada’s total refined lead production in 2017.

Canadian mine production of lead, 2008–2017 (p)

International context

In 2017, Canada ranked eighth in world production of refined lead, which reached 11 million tonnes globally. China was the largest producer, with 4.7 million tonnes of refined lead, which accounted for over 40% of the global production.

Find out more about global mined and refined lead production:

World mine production of lead, by country, 2017 (p)

Ranking Country Thousand tonnes Percentage of total
1 China 2,318 48.8%
2 Australia 343 7.2%
3 United States 311 6.5%
4 Peru 307 6.5%
5 Mexico 240 5.1%
6 Russia 202 4.3%
7 Other countries 1,028 21.6%
Total 4,749 100.0%

World refined production of lead, by country, 2017 (p)

Ranking Country Thousand tonnes Percentage of total
1 China 4,716 41.7%
2 United States 1,011 8.9%
3 South Korea 820 7.2%
4 India 554 4.9%
5 Germany 354 3.1%
6 Mexico 340 3.0%
7 United Kingdom 318 2.8%
8 Canada 277 2.4%
9 Japan 237 2.1%
10 Other countries 2,693 23.8%
Total 11,320 100.0%
Source: Natural Resources Canada
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