Half of global antimony demand is in flame retardants, Vercammen noted, with demand for antimony in both non-metallurgical and metallurgical applications having stagnated.
Looking ahead, Vercammen said demand growth is expected at 0.6% per year until 2028 with 2.1% per year growth in demand from not-metallurgical applications and 2.2% per year decline in demand from metallurgical applications.
Consumption of antimony peaked at around 192,000 tonnes in 2010, according to Vercammen, who added that consumption last year was estimated to be 176,000 tonnes.
The antimony market slowed in the first quarter of 2019, he noted, with low automobile sales worldwide and low domestic demand, including housing, electronics and automobiles, in China.
On the supply side, China’s major producers have been operating at full capacity so far this year, Vercammen noted, with mine production in the country increasing by 140,000 tpy or 20%. China has been a net importer of antimony concentrate since 2018.