There are many types of minerals that the earth provides for free. Mankind is always learning better ways to extract these minerals from nature and to use them to improve our lives.
One example is lead. Lead is a dense metal that is easy to mold and is relatively non-corrosive. Lead, in its natural state, is generally found combined together with other materials. It must be separated from them through a refining process.
Today, lead is one of the major metals used in manufacturing. 88 percent of lead goes to produce lead-acid batteries. Other main uses include the production of sheet lead, ammunition, casting metals, and oxide in ceramic and glass production.
Today, there are approximately 240 mines that produce lead in over 40 countries. In 2010, the world used 9.35 metric tons of lead. The main growth in lead demand is expected to come from China for production of electric bicycles and cars.