Covid-19 Contributes to Lower Antimony Production in 2020
Beijing, 18 January (Argus) —
Antimony production at Hunan Chenzhou Mining, one of the largest producers in China, fell in 2020 because of a shortage of feedstock supplies.
The company produced 29,000t of antimony products last year, down by 17.96pc from a year earlier. It was hit by a shortage of ore supplies following lower shipments from major supply countries during the global Covid-19 pandemic.
It also produced 33.8t of gold and 2,181t of tungsten products in 2020, compared with 38.5t and 4,305t a year earlier. Chenzhou Mining produced 35,347t of antimony products in 2019, up by 11pc from 2018, including 10,620t of antimony metal, 2,404t of ethylene glycol antimony and 22,105t of other antimony products. Detailed output data for 2020 are unavailable. The company produced 1,913t of tungsten concentrate and 2,392t of ammonium paratungstate (APT) in 2019.
Fellow major antimony producer Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star plans to maintain production levels at 30,000 t/yr for antimony products and 3-5t/yr for gold in the coming five years.
Antimony resources have been falling in China after many years of overexploitation, with ore grades in main deposits owned by Chenzhou Mining and Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star decreasing significantly in recent years. This has added to mining costs for antimony concentrate and reduced production, as well as increasing China’s reliance on imported ores from countries including Russia, Tajikistan, Australia and Myanmar (Burma).
Ore shortages have sent antimony prices to a 21-month high at 44,000-45,000 yuan/t. There is further upside potential ahead of the 11-17 February lunar new year holiday amid renewed stockpiling interest from domestic downstream industries and seaborne purchasers.
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