The Chinese have dominated global Antimony production since the mid-1800s with the possession of some of the most prolific mines in the world and a vast network of refineries (both major and "backyard"). In particular China's place as the largest producer of antimony and its compounds was due to the Xikuangshan Mine in Hunan. However all "good" things must come to an end and the Chinese have staged crackdowns on the more polluting small-scale operators and this has changed not only the Chinese industry but the world Antimony outlook. The leading firm of specialty metals consultants, Roskill, have estimated that in primary production, in 2010, China held a 76.75% share of world's supply with 120,462 tonnes (90,000 tonnes of reported and 30,464 tonnes of un-reported production), followed by Russia (4.14% share, 6,500 tonnes of production), Myanmar (3.76% share, 5,897 tonnes), Canada (3.61% share, 5,660 tonnes), Tajikistan (3.42% share, 5,370 tonnes) and Bolivia (3.17% share, 4,980 tonnes). Roskill also estimated that secondary production globally in 2010 was 39,540 tonnes. The preceding chart shows that recent years have seen a rather strong drop-off in production. Reported production of antimony in China fell in 2010 and is unlikely to increase in the coming years, according to Roskill's report. No significant antimony deposits in China have been developed for about ten years, and the remaining economic reserves are being rapidly depleted. This would appear to be a 'sunset" moment for the era of Chinese dominance of this metal.
The fall in production, not unsurprisingly, resulted in a surge in prices of Sb to over $17,000 per ton in 2010. The price then dropped back to $12,000 per tonne in 2011 before rebounding to around $14,000 per tonne. Antimony is out there with Tungsten in having a similarly resilient trend. Both, it might be noted, have a similar dynamic of dramatic over-exploitation by the Chinese combined with long term predatory pricing.