Reuters: Tight supply, solar demand drive antimony prices to record high

Reuters: Tight supply, solar demand drive antimony prices to record high

May 31, 2024

Tight supply, solar demand drive antimony prices to record high

By Amy Lv and Seher Dareen

Reuters – Prices of antimony, a strategic metal used in flame-retardants, batteries and munitions, are rising to record highs as solar sector demand outstrips supply, causing a wide deficit with little sign of easing, smelters and analysts say.

The surge in prices, which industry participants expect to persist, underscores the West’s vulnerability in relying on top producer China for key minerals and could also force end-users to find alternatives for some applications.

. . .

China, one of the world’s top antimony producers and users for more than a century, accounted for 48% of global antimony mine production last year, U.S. Geological Survey data showed, although its reserves fell to 640,000 tons, down from 950,000 tons in 2012.

Antimony supplies from Russia, the world’s fifth-largest producer, have been disrupted by Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, producers, traders and analysts said. Russia accounted for 24% of China’s antimony supply last year, but Chinese customs data shows there were no shipments in March and April.

. . .

More supply takes years to reach fruition, though governments are making efforts to find new sources.
In April, Perpetua Resources Corp received a letter of interest from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for a loan up to $1.8 billion to develop an antimony and gold mine in Idaho, part of Washington’s efforts to offset China’s critical minerals dominance.

Perpetua’s Stibnite mine would be the only U.S. antimony source and according to the company could meet 35% of U.S. demand in its first six years. The Department of Defense has committed nearly $60 million to fund its permitting process, which has lasted eight years, to boost U.S. production for bullets and other weaponry.

Click here to read the full Reuters article.


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