Bolivian antimony exports decrease in 2016

By Martim Facada
Published: Friday, 28 April 2017

Bolivian antimony exports fell 31% throughout 2016 to 2,669 tonnes from 3,843 tonnes the year before, according to the Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy of Bolivia despite favourable international market prices.

Antimony trioxide represented 2,064 tonnes of all antimony products exported from Bolivia during the year. 

According to a source close to the Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy of Bolivia, export data provides the best view of the industry as some producers within the country do not disclose their data on production.

"Historically, the total amount of antimony trioxide produced within the country is sold outside Bolivia. Therefore, we believe that the export data is relevant to understand the country's total output," the source told IM.


2015 Exports (tonnes)

Million $

2016 Exports (tonnes)

Million $





















Source: Viceministerio de Politica Minera, Regulacion y Fiscalizacion, 
Unidad de Analisis y Politica Minera

The decline in exports implies a reduction in Bolivia’s total output, with several sources agreeing that the industry was facing a "hard time".

Bolivian producers and consumers told IM that there were several reasons behind the decline.

"Production facilities had to stopped several times throughout 2016. Scarcity of material due to the exhaustion of the mines in Tupiza and water scarcity in Potosi were some of the main constraints faced by the industry," a source at COMIBOL, the Mining Corporation of Bolivia, told IM.

"The decrease of the Bolivian antimony production is due to several factors", a Latin American antimony producer explained to IM

"Antimony producers in Bolivia feel unsafe due to the lack of support from the government. Workers’ wages increased significantly over the past year but new environmental measures, an unfavourable exchange rate between the Bolivian currency and the US dollar and higher taxes on mining were some of the reasons behind the decrease in antimony production and exports", the source added.

Despite the falling output, the global antimony market strengthened during the same period.

During 2015 and 2016, the price of antimony trioxide (typically 99.5% Sb2O3) increased, greatly influenced by the uptrend in metal and trioxide prices in China.

Due to a reduction in output in China, Industrial Minerals antimony trioxide prices rose from $6,900-7,000/tonne FOB China in April 2015 up to the current market levels of $7,900-8,000/tonne FOB China.

In Europe, market participants witnessed a similar trend, with the European market bouncing to $8,000-8,100/tonne CIF Antwerp/Rotterdam in April from $6,900-7,050/tonne in April 2015.

The US market followed the other two regional markets, moving to the current market prices of $8,000-8,200/tonne CIF East Coast from $7,000-7,100/tonne.

More like this