Antimony


The terrestrial abundance of antimony is about 1 gram/ton compared to about 5 grams/ton for arsenic. Over one hundred minerals of antimony have been recognized. Scattered quantities of native metallic antimony are found in Nature, however these are rare. The most important mineral source of antimony is stibnite, antimony trisulfide. Stibnite deposits are normally small and shallow, and do not contain more than several thousand tons of ore. Ore bodies of this nature can be found scattered throughout the world and are located in Algeria, Bolivia, China, Mexico, Peru and ex-Yugoslavia.

Other important commercial minerals of antimony are stibcontite, cervantite, valentinite, senarmontite and kermasite (2Sb2S3.Sb2O3). Complex ores of antimony such as livingstonite (HgSb4S7) and jamisonite (Pb2Sb2S5) are also a source of antimony. Antimony is also present in copper and lead in minor quantities, but has sufficient value to be recovered as a by-product element.

Another important source of antimony is from the treatment of lead-base scrap material. About one-half of all antimony produced is derived from this secondary scrap source.