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Getting into bismuth (

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Media, Mineral Economics, Mining, Publications


On Monday, an article I co-authored with Allan Trench in his Strictly Boardroom column on was published. The article is entitled “Getting into bismuth” and makes the point that as an industry we should try to get to understand minor metals’ markets, such as bismuth, much better.

As miners seek new sources of revenues, as commodity prices fall, companies will increasingly attempt to unlock minor metal by-product revenues from base metal and other mines. This immediate requirement also corresponds with two longer term trends – one that as the favoured single-metal mines are depleted the industry will be increasingly left with polymetallic mines; and second that the modern economy now consumes a much wider range of metals, including the minor metals, so these markets will become more prominent.

However, entry into these small, opaque and complex markets is often not easy, and certainly the economic analysis extends to more than just pointing to demand from China and some hi-tech uses. As such, this article looks at some of the structural supply, demand and price factors that help facilitate or mitigate against market entry – using bismuth as a case study. The article is available for subscribers on