Antimony is a shiny gray metalloid which exists in nature as sulfide mineral stibnite. The atomic number of antimony is 51, and its chemical symbol is Sb, which is derived from the Latin term "stibium." Antimony compounds, commonly known by the Arabic name ‘’kohl,’’ have been used as cosmetics and medicines since ancient times.
Antimony is the 1158th most commonly traded commodity in the world, and current applications include use in lead-acid batteries. The top producer of antimony is China, which produced over 100,000 tons, followed by Russia and Tajikistan. China was the top exporter to France, Belgium, and the United States. The total amount of antimony exported in 2016 amounted to $96.3 million. Some of the world's top antimony exporters are listed below.
Top 5 Antimony Exporters
China exported approximately 37% of the world's antimony traded in 2016, earning a total of $35.7 million. This represents an 86% decrease from 2015, when the country's exports of the element totalled $257 million. In 2016, the biggest recipient of China's antimony exports was the United States (21%), followed by Japan (19%), Belgium (18%), and the Netherlands (17%). However, in 2015 the top importer of antimony from China was France. Production in China decreased in 2016 due to new environmental laws which revised the standards of pollutants in many metals mined in China, including antimony. The government of China is expected to close more antimony mines throughout the country.
India is the world's second largest exporter of antimony after China. Exports in 2016 were valued at $10.1 million, and represented 10% of total world antimony exports. The 2016 values show a 39.52% reduction from 2015, when India shipped $16.7 million worth of antimony. Over 50% of India's exports were sent to the United States, followed by Pakistan (31%), and the Netherlands (4.7%).
Singapore contributed approximately 9.6% of the world's exported antimony in 2016, earning $9.72 million. This represents a 4.63% decrease 2015, when total exports reached $9.72 million. Singapore exported the majority of its antimony to Japan (59%), followed by Thailand (9.8%), India (9.4%), and the United States.
Mexico exported about 7.9% of the world's antimony in 2016, which had a market value of $ 7.6 million. This represents a 1.33% increase from 2015, when total exports reached $7.5 million. The majority of Mexico's exports were sent to the United States (56%), which had a value $4.25 million, while India was the second largest importer (40%). In 2015 Mexico exported 56% of its antimony to India and 40% to the United States.
The United States exported 6.4% of the world's antimony in 2016, which had a market value of 6.16 million. This represents a 52% increase from 2015, when exports totalled $4.05 million. US antimony exports were shipped to Canada (18%), Mexico (14%), China (9.0%), and the United Kingdom (7.2%).
Growth Trends and Uses of Antimony
The only country which experienced significant growth in antimony exports in 2016 was the United States, which showed a 52% increase, followed by Mexico (1.33%). China experienced an 86% decrease in antimony exports, while exports dropped by 39.52% in India. According to the United States Geology Survey (USGS), current world antimony mines are expected to be depleted within the next thirteen years, but geologists will discover more resources. Antimony is used in cable-sheathing, low-friction metals and batteries, as well as in the production of paints, pottery, glass, enamel and flame-proofing materials.