Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


LI, Jianwu, Research Center For Global Mineral Resources Strategy, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, 26 Baiwanzhuang Road, Xicheng district, Beijing, 100037, China and WANG, Anjian, Chinese Academy of Geosciences, Institute of Mineral Resources, 26 Baiwanzhuang Road, Xicheng District, Beijing, 100037, China,

China is the world’s most important supplier of antimony. Since 1990s, China’s share of the global mine production has been around 80%, and during the last 5 years this number has been as high as 85%. China’s vigorous antimony mining industry is based on its large and high-quality resources. In 2012, China’s reserves was estimated to be 950 thousand tons of contained antimony, which accounts for 53% of the world’s total reserves.

After more than 20 years of high production, the base of China’s antimony mining industry has been undermined with the high-quality resources being depleted rapidly. Statistics from China show that from 2001 to 2012, the identified resources of antimony stagnated while that of many other minerals increased dramatically. During the same period of time, China’s production increased by 50%, which resulted in dramatic decline in reserves/production ratio. In 1995 the ratio was 12, and by 2012 that number declined to 6, threatening the future of China’s antimony industry and the security of supply. Besides that, antimony mining led to serious environmental problems in local communities.

The serious situation faced by the industry aroused the concern of the government. To change the situation, the Chinese government began to reinforce the restriction on mine production. In 2009, after tungsten and rare earths, the government made antimony one of the minerals whose production is under strict control of the government plan. In addition, the government enhanced the threshold of entrance of antimony industry, tightened the granting of mining and exploration licences, and discouraged the export.

All of the measures taken by Chinese government will no doubt reduce the supply of primary antimony. As the world has been over-dependent on China for the antimony supply, it is predicted that the world market will probably witness a tightened supply and an increase in price.