Antimony is a chemical element and exists in both metallic and non metallic forms. The metallic form is bright silver and brittle material. Non metallic form of antimony is grey powder. Antimony is a stable element in dry air and is inert to acids and alkalis. Antimony expands on cooling and is a bad conductor of electricity and heat. Antimony is among the oldest known element to mankind and has been used for varied applications since 4000 BC.
Antimony is available freely in nature and also can be extracted from ores such as valentinite and stibnite. Elemental antimony is present in relatively small amount owing to high reactivity of antimony with sulfur, lead, silver and copper.Stibnite is the commonly used ore for extracting antimony, ores of antimony are crushed and then antimony is hand sorted from the crushed ore. Owing to large reserves and cheap and abundant labor available in China, China dominates the global antimony production. Antimony is also recycled from lead acid batteries, recycled antimony is among other major sources for antimony and is fast gaining acceptance as an easy source of antimony.
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Metallic antimony is brittle in nature and hence has to be combined with other metals or alloysfor high strength applications. Antimony trioxide is the commonly used compound of antimony for various commercial applications such as production of plastics, rubber, textile, pigments, glass, etc. Antimony is widely used with lead as a reinforcement to increase the strength of lead in applications such as ammunitions. Antimony is also widely used in lead acid batteries which are among the dominant applicationsfor antimony. Other application of antimony includes production of low friction applications, flame proofing materials and glass among several others. Major end user industries of antimony include automobiles, paints, building and construction and defense among others.
Flame retardants followed by lead acid batteries dominate the global demand for antimony the trend is anticipated to continue during the forecast period. Increasing demand for flame retardants in several end user industries such as plastic has been among foremost factors driving demand for antimony.Lead acid batteries are used in various industries including automobiles, marine, etc. Increasing demand for electric vehicles is expected to drive demand for antimonyduring the forecast period. Major end user industries for antimony include consumer goods such as automobile and textile among others. Therefore, macroeconomic factors such as GDP growth and purchase power parity are also among major growth drivers for antimony market. Exposure to antimony poses severe health hazards including breathing disorders, skin irritation, and lung cancer among others. Antimony also leads to several environmental hazards which have led to surge in number of regulations to regulate antimony consumption which have been restraining market growth for antimony.
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Asia Pacific dominates the global antimony market primarily owing to high demand in China. Over 80% of the global antimony production is controlled by China; moreover high GDP growth in the region is expected to drive antimony market during the forecast period. Demand for antimony in North America and Europe is anticipated to grow at a sluggish rate primarily owing stringent regulations in the regions.
Some manufacturers in the antimony market include Shanghai Metal Corporation, Beijing North Xinyuan Electrical Carbon Products Co.Ltd and Qingdao Glory International Trading Co. among several others.