A non-ferrous metal, zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and is mostly encountered in the ore sphalerite, which is a zinc sulfide mineral. The largest workable loads are located in Australia, Asia and in the United States. It was named by the alchemist Paracelsus after the german wordZinke, meaning prong or tooth. Pure metallic zinc wasn't discovered until 1746.

Zinc is the fourth most commonly used metal, just behind iron, aluminium, and copper. It is produced using extractive metallurgy, finely ground, and then put through the process of froth flotation, which is used to separate the mineral from the gangue. Most commonly, it is used for galvanising, the production of batteries, as well as for alloys like brass and bronze. Its anti-corrosion features are what make it so useful.