This website uses cookies. Please refer to our cookies policy for further information. By continuing to use this website, you are consenting to the use of these cookies.


Skip navigation

Production and consumption

First traded on LME: 1903
Current specification introduced: 1968
World production: 10 million tonnes per annum (2011)

Lead use has changed over time and batteries now account for about 80% of world consumption. Although petrol, soldering and plumbing no longer account for significant lead use, its malleable, dense and anti-corrosive properties mean lead is now often used to line tanks that store corrosive liquids and as a shield against X and gamma-ray radiation. Other uses include the manufacture of paints and pigments and other chemical compounds.

World lead production 2011

Graph showing lead production by region


Asia 58
America 21
Europe 18
Africa 1
Oceania 2

Source: WBMS

Industry consumption 2011


Market Sector%
Batteries - SLI replacement 40
Batteries - Industrial 30
Non-battery uses 20
Batteries - SLI OE 10

Source: CRU