China cancels antimony mining restrictions; raises rare earths quota

China will cancel its production quota for antimony this year, the ministry of land and resources said on Sunday June 8.

China will cancel its production quota for antimony this year, the ministry of land and resources said on Sunday June 8. 

The Chinese government also plans to increase its production of rare earths materials by about 12% year-on-year to 105,000 tonnes, from 93,800 tonnes in 2013, and keep the tungsten quota flat at 89,000 tonnes.

The cancellation of the antimony mining quota is the first time the Chinese government has removed controls over the metal's production since the quota was first introduced in 2009.

Last year, antimony production was limited to 89,000 tonnes.

The antimony mining quota was first introduced in an effort to cap production, but some in the market said it is unlikely that relaxing controls will encourage an increase in output in the short term as the antimony price is too low for it to be profitable for producers to produce more material.

The low price levels have already driven some producers to halt operations earlier this year rather than sell at a loss. 

In-warehouse Rotterdam antimony prices stand at $9,400-700 per tonne for standard grade II, and $9,500-800 for thetrioxide grade, and have been stuck around these levels since the beginning of the year. 

Some predict that the antimony price could rise as tensions between Vientam and China restrict supply across the border, but others said a lack of demand will cap any price rises.

Chloe Smith 
chloe.smith@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: @ChloeSmith_MB 

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