US antimony stockpiles dwindle as Felix Gold hones in on domestic supply potential

In the midst of Felix Gold Ltd’s (ASX: FXG) Alaskan drilling campaign, it is worth delving into what the company considers to be potential to host a significant antimony (Sb) deposit, and how this plays into a global economy that is desperate for diversified sources of the critical mineral.

In the midst of Felix Gold Ltd’s (ASX: FXG) Alaskan drilling campaign, it is worth delving into what the company considers to be potential to host a significant antimony (Sb) deposit, and how this plays into a global economy that is desperate for diversified sources of the critical mineral.

Felix Gold’s flagship project in Alaska, known as Treasure Creek, is displaying indications of a notable presence of antimony—a rare mineral that holds strategic value for military and battery technologies and is at the top of the United States’ critical mineral list.

In the past, the US had a thriving antimony market, and Treasure Creek played a vital role by supplying this crucial mineral during World War 2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

The prospect of antimony is particularly noteworthy because the Scrafford Shear Antimony Mine in Treasure Creek was historically the second largest antimony mine in Alaska, with grades of up to 58% Sb.

Antimony at Treasure Creek

Felix Gold has identified antimony at Treasure Creek through XRF analysis of drill cores, observed it in rock chips, and through an extensive soil anomaly. Felix visually identified antimony in the 2022 drilling program, which underscores the potential of this particular site

The company considers the 12km Scrafford shear strike length and NW Array as both promising sites for high-grade antimony resourcesA key goal for Felix in 2023 is to leverage their antimony potential to support bolstering US domestic production. While the company’s primary focus remains on defining near-surface gold resources with immediate production potential, Felix maintains an optimistic outlook regarding the value that their antimony resources can unlock. Antimony’s scarcity, limited supply, and strategic necessity make it a compelling opportunity for Felix Gold.

Image: Felix Gold

Waning supply of the critical mineral

The urgent need for supply and processing diversification of antimony has been repeatedly highlighted.

Congress has taken a keen interest the US’ antimony stockpiles in recent years, citing the significant security risk of both dwindling reserves and no domestic production. US$10 million has been allocated to the US Army for studies that are investigating domestic sourcing and production of antimony. 

The Manager of the National Defense Stockpile at the Defense Logistics Agency is now required to provide regular updates on antimony stockpiles, and provide a five year outlook on current and future supply chain vulnerabilities.

Antimony is a thinly traded commodity, subject to routine supply crunches that induce volatile price swings, as was seen in October 2021 when it hit US$6.65/lb – more than double the annual average price of US$2.67/lb in 2020.

However, US antimony production has dwindled to nothing over time, resulting in a worrisome reliance on imports from foreign countries, with China and Russia being the primary producers. The urgent need for supply and processing diversification, repeatedly emphasized, has prompted the US Department of Defence to take drastic measures, including stockpiling the resource and financially supporting the reopening of mines.

Antimony in practice

While its military applications are well known, expanded uses for antimony contribute to its inclusion as a critical material, particularly with respect to battery technology. Antimony has become increasingly prevalent in electrical and energy related technologies. Over the past decade, antimony appeared in over a thousand U.S. electrical applications patents

Liquid metal batteries (LMBs), an emerging battery technology, incorporates antimony in the cathodic material. The all-liquid contents of LMBs have longer life cycles than contemporary lithium-ion batteries. LMBs also have a higher current density, comparatively simpler manufacturing processes, do not self-ignite, and are purportedly cheaper to manufacture.

Join an investor briefing with Felix Gold CEO Anthony Reilly tomorrow, Thursday 22nd June at 12pm (AEST) to hear more about the company’s progress. Click here to register.

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