Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 61
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By H. M. Callaway'
NTIMONY, from the Greek words "anti" and "monos," means a metal
seldom found alone. Although the name was intended to describe the
metal's mineralogical association in nature's ores, it aptly describes the
role of antimony in modern industry as well, for all its industrial applications
are in association with other elements.
Antimony is valued as a hardening agent and
corrosion inhibitor in lead storage-battery
plates. It imparts force-absorbing character-
istics to metal bearings and gives type alloys
their essential fusibility and precision casting
qualities. The oxide and sulfide enter many in-
dustrial processes such as sanitary enameling,
paint, plastics and glass manufacturing, and
rubber vulcanizing. Military uses of antimony
are in ammunition primers, tracer bullets,
shrapnel alloys, smoke generators, flame-retard-
ant textiles, camouflage paints, and in signal
Annual world mine production is approxi-
mately 55,000 tons. The United States re-
quires about one-fourth of the new supply to
supplement antimonial alloys regenerated each
year from scrap. Other principal consumers of
antimony are the United Kingdom, U.S.S.R.,
France, Belgium, Japan, and West Germany.
Leading world producers of antimony ores
are China, Union of South Africa, Bolivia, and
Mexico. The bulk of Mexican and Bolivian
ores is exported to the United States; China
supplies the Soviet Bloc and parts of indus-
trial Europe. The United Kingdom is the prin-
cipal consumer of antimony from the Union of
South Africa, but considerable quantities of
South African ore are exported to the United
There is no significant economic domestic re-
source base. Mine production in the United
States contributes less than 2 percent to the
Nation's total requirements of antimony. Do-
mestic smelters, fed by imported concentrates,
furnish 20 percent of domestic antimony needs,
imported metal and oxide an additional 20 per-
cent, and byproduct antimony derived from
lead refining 5 to 8 percent. The remaining 50
percent or more is derived from scrap process-
Being the world's largest consumer of anti-
mony and lacking economic domestic ores, the
United States is confronted with the problem
of maintaining supplies necessary for an ex-
panding economy and for national security.
The Government program relating to antimony
concerns the adequacy and stability of supply.
The use of antimony predates the Christian
Era by thousands of years. Chaldea, Babylon,
Egypt, and Rome knew the metal. Literature
of medieval Europe describes its natural oc-
currence and utility. It was not until the rapid
industrial expansion after 1914, however, that
use of antimony expanded toward present pro-
portions. The pre-World War I uses in type
metal, bearing metal, matches, and sanitary
' Commodity specialist.
porcelain enamels were dwarfed by 1914-19 uses
in small-arms ammunition and shrapnel shells.
Between World War I and the economic de-
pression of the early 1930's, expansion of the
automobile industry accelerated the use of an-
timony in storage-battery grids. China was by
far the leading world supplier of antimony.
Domestic antimony mines, which had been ac-
tive for a short time in World War I, remained
The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 re-
stricted Chinese production and stimulated
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United States. Bureau of Mines. Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition, report, 1960; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38790/m1/69/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.