A Taylor, Jr
BISMUTH ADVOCATE NEWS
Price and Long-Term Outlook Issue No. 29 November – December 2007
Longer-term Outlook: The most recent outlooks will be found on the "Early Bird". The price increase shown in the first half of 2007, perhaps catalyzed by a brief closure of the Shizhuyuan smelter (China), has long-term implications if it continues and does not drop back near former levels. The price may enable the Tasna Mine in Bolivia, the world's only mine with bismuth as its principal product, to operate continuously with no closures and perhaps to expand production. It may enable several multi-metal mine prospects to come onstream, the NICO deposit (cobalt-gold-bismuth) in Canada, and the Nui Phao project (fluorspar-tungsten-bismuth) in Viet Nam. If mine sources do not respond to the elevated price level (they didn't for indium), the gap is likely to be filled by recycling, more efficient use, and substitution by other materials.
Several newer end-uses have the size and potential growth to put intense and unrelenting pressure on demand, the use in lead-free solders and the use in galvanizing as a lead replacement.
Statistical Parameters: The New York Dealer Price for bismuth in the long term has been slowly but relentlessly going downward through late 2003 from $3.85-$4.15 per lb at year-end 2000, to $3.25-$3.60 in early January 2002, to $2.90-$3.40 per lb in late May 2002, to $2.70-$3.10 from late November 2002 through mid2003, then up to $2.80-$3.10 in June 2003, to $2.65-$2.95 in early October, and to $2.60-$2.90 per lb in early December 2003. Continuing into 2004, the price was $2.95-$3.25 per lb in February through late March, $3.20-$3.50 in midMay, $3.65 to $4.00 in midJune, and $3.40-$3.70 per lb in late December 2004.
The New York Dealer Price for bismuth more recently has tended to modestly fluctuate except for the recent huge uptick: the price was $3.30-$3.50 in early March 2005, $3.45-$3.65 in July, $4.20-$4.60 per lb in September, and $4.50-$4.80 in late December 2005. The price was $4.40-$4.60 per lb in midMay 2006, then little variance until it was $4.50-$4.75 in midSeptember 2006. Then the price was $6.00-$6.50 per lb in midNovember, $7.30-$7.80 at Christmas 2006, $9.25-$9.75 per lb in early March 2007, $10.50-$11.00 in late March, $13.00-$14.50 in midApril, $16.50-$17.50 per lb in midMay 2007., $18.00-$19.00 in midJune, $17.00-$18.00 per lb in midJuly, $15.50-$16.50 in late August-September, $14.50-$15.50 in mid October, and $13.50-$15.00 per pound in midNovember 2007.