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Lead reserves worldwide by country 2019

Australia had the world’s largest reserves of lead reserves as of 2019, amounting to 36 million metric tons that year.

Lead and its uses

Lead is a naturally occurring element that is soft and malleable. It is a post-transition metal that is very dense and is easily tarnished to a dull grey color. Lead’s use by humans dates back to 7000-6500 BCE, first found in modern day Anatolia. Ancient Egyptians first used it in cosmetics, and as well as likely having used the metal in glasses, enamels, and as weights for fishing nets. In recent decades, however the use of lead has decreased due to health concerns. Prolonged exposure to lead can cause negative health effects. Regardless of its negative health effects, it is still seen as a valuable commodity. It remains commonly used in car batteries, pigments, lifting weights, and ammunition.

Global lead industry figures

In 2019, China produced the world’s largest volume of lead, despite having the second largest lead reserves in the world. That year, they produced 2.1 million metric tons of lead. The total global consumption of refined lead as of 2018 amounted to 11.7 million metric tons of lead. The market price of lead in North America in recent years has been fluctuating. In 2015 the price was 91.2 U.S. cents per pound, which increased to 100U.S. cents per pound in 2019.

Lead reserves worldwide as of 2019, by country

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

All figures are estimates.

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