Although London Metal Bulletin price this week is unchanged, but most suppliers in China are asking at least 20 m. ton higher now. We assume this is due to shortage of export license and the raw material. We still hope prices not to go up any higher before Chinese New Year.
In Mexico a cobalt miner is extracting cobalt ore which has also 7% Antimony in the ore. Such a low concentration of antimony does not make economical sense to extract it from the ore. We tried to sell it to China but due to low concentration they are not interested although they are interested to buy 10,000 m. ton concentrate from any origin.
As indicated before, Italy has also found an Antimony mine in Italy but they are not offering to sell their concentrate or the Sb metal.
Year 2004 started with a price of $2600/m. ton and went up as high as $ 3200 and ended at a price $ 2800 average per ton. During last few years, the average price for 2004 was higher than normal. Because antimony consumption is not extra sensitive to the price (Elasticity of less than 1) and the consumption has been as high as last few years.
During 2005, we expect the new producers of antimony start their antimony production, such as Australia, Russia, Peru Italy and especially South Africa. If this happens the supply will be higher and prices will be more stable.
During past two years no new consumption for antimony oxide was reported, otherwise prices would have been higher than present level.
We know of few laboratories in Europe who are making research to find a suitable substitute for antimony oxide.