Photovoltaics to become largest use of antimony, Twinkling Star chairman

The use of antimony in photovoltaics is expected to surpass its flame-retardant usage to become the major downstream use for the metal and will change the supply-demand balance in the antimony industry, a senior industry executive told Fastmarkets

Antimony metal consumption in the photovoltaic (PV) sector this year is expected to reach approximately 50,000 tonnes, accounting for almost one-third of the year’s total global antimony consumption, Kang Dongsheng, chairman of major Chinese antimony producer Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star Co Ltd, said on Tuesday November 21, ahead of Fastmarkets’ Antimony Insights Day on Monday November 27 in London.

Antimony has been used in various applications. One of its primary uses has been in the form of antimony trioxide as a flame retardant in plastics, textiles and other products.

The flame-retardant sector currently accounts for around half of end use of antimony.“The use of antimony trioxide as a clarifying agent in photovoltaic glass is a developing trend, and it is expected to maintain rapid growth in the coming years,” Kang said.

Demand growth seen in the PV sector will tighten the available supply of antimony, Kang said.

“With a growth rate of 30% year on year, the demand for antimony in the photovoltaic industry has changed the supply-demand balance of the antimony industry,” Kang said.

Prices for Chinese antimony metal is generally higher than those of antimony produced in some other countries.

Fastmarkets’ twice-weekly price assessment for antimony, max 100 ppm Bi, in-whs Rotterdam was $11,200-11,600 per tonne on Wednesday November 22, unchanged.

Fastmarkets’ twice-weekly price assessment for antimony, MMTA standard grade II, in-whs Rotterdam was also unchanged at $11,200-11,600 per tonne on Wednesday November 22.

And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for antimony MMTA standard grade II, ddp China was 80,000-81,000 yuan ($11,242-11,383) per tonne on Friday November 17, unchanged from November 10.

Kang believes the reason why antimony’s price in China is higher than the international level is the additional demand for antimony from the country’s PV industry.

“The photovoltaic industry is mainly concentrated in China, which leads to higher demand for antimony in the country. Consequently, prices are naturally higher in China,” Kang said.

Kang estimated the global antimony consumption in 2023 would be roughly 160,000 tonnes, and Twinkling Star’s planned production volume for 2023 is 26,000 tonnes.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the total global antimony mine production in 2022 was approximately 110,000 tonnes. China remains the leading producer globally, contributing a substantial 60,000 tonnes, accounting for 55% of the world’s total.

Join us for Fastmarkets’ Antimony Insights Day on Monday November 27 in London.

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