12th Rare Earth Summit

May 27-28, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

11th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 20-21, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

9th Magnesium Summit

April 15-16, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

13th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 25-26, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China
Emin Eyi: The mission to provide alternative supply
----Interview with Emin Eyi, Managing Director of Tri-Star Resources
Tri-Star Resources Plc is an independent mining company, holding a highly experienced management team with capabilities in exploration geology, mining, mineral processing, minor metal marketing, sales and finance. The company strategy is to be the western world’s leading integrated miner, producer and marketer of antimony metal and antimony tri-oxide products.

Asian Metal: Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview Emin. Tri-Star Resources is one of the most talked about companies in the antimony world as you are working towards providing supply outside of China. Could you give us a brief background on the company?

Emin Eyi: The initiative was started by my father, Vehbi Eyi. He has been involved in antimony since the mid 1970’s in some form or another, either in trading, mining or the conversion business. It was clear a few years ago that the value node for the industry is not just in the mines, delivering units to the trade, but also the need for a modern and environmentally compliant conversion facility to produce the metal. That’s always been the domain of China and a real opportunity for a new entrant with modern technology to provide alternative production units. Being integrated is important in these niche commodities, having both mining and processing in a portfolio mitigates supply risk. That’s where the Tri-Star projects in Turkey and Canada come in.

Asian Metal: Could you elaborate on the company’s journey thus far?

Emin Eyi: Less than a decade ago China provided 85% of the antimony concentrates and ores from its own mines for its own smelters and exported ingots. This has now changed considerably and we expect that in 2015 Chinese mined antimony will represent around 40% of the world antimony units as more and more material into these smelters are now sourced from overseas mines. This makes commercial sense as our analysis suggests these overseas sources provide units at a lower cost and of good quality. Many of these mines and deposits are known. New ones are being discovered. We keep track of them on our website www.antimoyworld.com. Totally new sources, from precious metal and base metal mines will be important future sources. This is helps all participants in the industry by diversifying sources and bringing into the industry low cost producers.
The strategy of Tri-Star and its antimony roaster joint venture, called Strategic & Precious Metals Processing (SPMP), is to provide a modern and environmentally compliant facility for around 20,000 tonnes of product per annum, around 10% - 12% world demand and to serve its valued specialist consumers that recognise our role. China will remain a very important source of antimony units, but its rapidly changing manufacturing industry, moving towards ever more value added, will also remain an important consumer market.
SPMP is 40% owned by Tri-Star and 40% by an Oman based Sovereign Fund and 20% by a Dubai based infrastructure group. The site is located in the Sohar Port Freezone , deal to bring in feedstock and allows the plant to utilise low cost energy in the form of LPG sourced locally. The port has a burgeoning minerals processing hub and has agreeable fiscal exemptions. Our deposits in Turkey and project in Canada are promising and provide future feedstock for the project, although we are seeing a considerable amount of interest from various sources both geographically and also from new producers from no traditional antimony mines.
We feel strongly that antimony has a bright future for both its current uses but also feel its unique properties make it an interesting element for many new uses.

Asian Metal: You recently signed an off-take agreement with Traxys, could you elaborate on this and give a few more details on this development?

Emin Eyi: Well as the statement says its to work together on an agreement for supply of feedstock as well as financing of such material flow and offtake services. We are excited to be working with such an organisation and look forward to progressing the relationship with respect to antimony and possibly other areas in the future. This is one of the recent milestones that the roaster joint venture was able to achieve. Other important milestones include a third party engineering report confirming process, capital and operating costs for the facility, receipt of the preliminary Environmental Permit allowing the project to push ahead to construction and local banking finance terms. Receiving the environmental clearance is an important milestone for the antimony industry as well, making the project in Sohar one of the first major antimony conversion facilities to be designed to modern European environmental standards.

Asian Metal: What are thoughts on the current antimony market and the current trajectory?

Emin Eyi: The market is in recovery mode as with many other niche commodities. Lower prices for metals in general and most importantly, lower oil prices, help reduce chemical & plastics input costs. These factors should ease the cost pressures in key consumer markets, helping volume growth in the future. Some segments such as automotive and catalytic grade have surprised in demand resilience.
The world needs periods of lower input prices to build up value addition across the broad economy. The problem with antimony is that for years it has found a price level making it attractive for certain mass volume use (I use the word ‘mass’ carefully in context of the niche sector it operates in). Antimony is 5 times more scarce than tungsten for example, but it has a much larger and wider volume use driven by its long tested qualities as a synergist in flame retardant compounds. However, its price is a fraction of its minor metals peer group despite having a much wider and strategic industrial functionality, not limited to the steel cycle for example. We feel that as new technologies come to the fore, the pricing of the metal will revert to the value it imparts for these new products. It may well be a much more high value use and higher relative prices than we have seen in the past, but that’s the right approach for such a scarce commodity, now popping up on so many critical metal lists. When it comes to projections for the future, one can only really use long term parameters and indicators, it’s not helpful for short term pricing analysis, that’s not our objective. Longer-term, we hope to see a healthy market with reliable and trusted suppliers providing the security of supply to consumers and product developers so they can spend the R&D money to create new and even more exciting products using this unique element.

Asian Metal: So what would say are Tri-Star’s biggest challenges moving forward?

Emin Eyi: The real challenge for our minor metals industry, and the mining & minerals industry as a whole, is that key knowledge for processing and metallurgy, for example, has not been replenished with new engineers over the decades from around the world due to a lack of new projects outside of certain traditional regions. This has somewhat reversed in the recent years with growing projects now, but most are in the mining and upstream segment of the value chain. Staffing is essential to get right for us, especially combining our goal of providing superior engineering and management roles for local staff as well as sourcing the ‘grey cell’s’ from around the world. Our ambition is to solve this problem with a mining and mineral processing college initiative to train and provide a lasting stream of qualified and motivated engineers for the project as well as the burgeoning mineral processing industry in the country.

Asian Metal: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Emin Eyi: We are excited by the reception we have had for our refractory gold roasting initiative. We made an announcement back in December 2013 looking at using the same rotary kiln roasting technology deployed for antimony concentrate roasting to handle refractory sulphide gold concentrates. This is a major market opportunity for us as such refractory sulphide gold orebodies account for 30%-50% of the world gold in the ground now. We see our clean roasting technology as providing considerable benefit to those mine owners approaching their sulphide orebodies but balk at the prospect of deploying a pressure oxidation facility to handle the problem, again an issue of complexity, people and cost. We believe a merchant plant to be built alongside our antimony facility would be a great value proposition for those mine owners and their trapped gold. Antimony is derived from the word anti-monos , ‘never alone’ and this has been our experience over the years, antimony’s close association with gold exploration is a geologist’s torch but a metallurgist’s nightmare.

Asian Metal: Thank you very much Emin. I wish you all the best with Tri-Star.

Emin Eyi: Thank you.