Minor Metals


Antimony is a chemical element with symbol Sb andatomic number 51. A lustrous gray metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite (Sb2S3). Antimony compounds have been known since ancient times and were used for cosmetics; metallic antimony was also known, but it was erroneously identified as lead upon its discovery. In the West, it was first isolated by Vannoccio Biringuccio and described in 1540, although in primitive cultures its powder has been used to cure eye ailments, as also for eye shadow, since time immemorial, and is often referred to by its Arabic name, kohl.
For some time, China has been the largest producer of antimony and its compounds, with most production coming from the Xikuangshan Mine in Hunan. The industrial methods to produce antimony are roasting and reduction using carbon or direct reduction of stibnite with iron.


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