Antimony exploration in 2012 was
characterised by a worldwide drive to increase global
Beyond China - which controls
around 90% of global antimony trioxide supply - efforts were
made to scale-up mine output, notably in Bolivia, Russia, South
Africa and Tajikistan, along with a number of European
In June, UK-based antimony miner,
Tri-Star Resources Plc, reported that its Gynk
project in north-west Turkey had been classified as an
exploration target with the potential to produce 350,000 tonnes
stibnite (grading between 1-3% Sb).
The following month, United States
Antimony Corporation (USAC) accelerated the development of its
antimony, silver and gold property at Los Juarez in central
Mexico, conducting various exploration and processing
activities at the deposit during the second half of 2012.
After a lengthy waiting period, the
Ministry for the Environment of the Slovakian Republic granted
approval in October for Geo Tatra Ltd to begin geological work
at the Pezinok-Pernek antimony deposit in Slovakia.
Exploration at Pezinok-Pernek is
expected to commence in the first quarter 2013.
November saw the announcement that
the Beaver Brook antimony mine in Newfoundland, Canada, was to
be closed in January 2013 after its Chinese owners decided that
the quality of ore made the mine unviable.
This was followed by news that
Luiri Gold Ltd had let lapse an agreement to acquire an
interest in the Zopkhito antimony project in Georgia, in favour
of focusing on gold projects in Zambia.
Canadian mining firm Adroit
Resources Inc. also experienced problems in November, when
local residents in the area of Tuscany, where Adroit hopes to
revive an historic antimony mining industry, sought legal
action to oppose the development.
In December, Great Atlantic
Resources Corp. signed an option agreement with a private
prospector to acquire the Rawdon Hills antimony property in
Nova Scotia, Canada, while Australia-listed Northwest Resources
announced that it was progressing off-take discussions with
selected parties with regard to its Blue Spec Shear
Gold-Antimony Project in Western Australia. Due diligence work
by the potential partners is planned to begin from January
Flame retardants phase-out antimony
The flame retardants market is a major consumer of antimony
trioxide, where it is used as a synergist in halogenated flame
retardants in plastics.
Global demand for flame retardant
additives is expected to grow 6.1% annually, reaching 2.2m
tonnes by 2014, according to a new study from US-based research
firm, Freedonia Group.
However, the steady rise in the
price of antimony - around a five-fold increase during the past
decade - has led some consumers to seek alternatives in an
effort to cut costs.
In April, Resin manufacturer AOC
LLC announced that it had developed a new fire retardant, a
halogen-free resin system that can be used in composites
without the need for antimony trioxide, resulting in products
that were up to 30% lighter and suitable for use in mass
Later, in November, US firm Applied Minerals Inc. revealed
it had determined that dragonite (a basalt mineral) can replace
50-75% of the antimony trioxide in plastic, while retaining the
required flame retardancy rating at a significantly lower