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What Is Strontium And Where Do I Use It?


  • Strontium (chemical symbol Sr) is a metal usually occurring in the earth’s crust as celestite (SrSO4) and strontianite (SrCO3), and it is also present in seawater. It is a soft, silver-yellow, alkaline-earth metal, and has a high reactivity with water and air. (Lenntech, 2019; ISE, 2019).


  • Strontium occurs naturally and is the 15th most abundant metal on earth.

  • The metal is primarily mined from the minerals celestine and strontianite.

  • Strontium aluminate is often used in ‘glow-in-the-dark’ paints, as it absorbs light during the day and releases it slowly for hours afterwards.

  • Natural strontium is stable but the synthetic strontium-90 is radioactive and is one of the most dangerous components of nuclear fallout. Natural strontium is not hazardous to health.

  • Strontium-90 is one of the best high-energy-beta-emitters known and can be used to generate electricity for space vehicles or remote water stations. The metal can also be used to remove static charges from machinery handling paper of plastic.

Where is Strontium Produced?


  • The global producers of strontium are Iran 38%, Spain 34%, China 16% and Mexico 11%. 


  • Spanish strontium production has been significantly increased between 2019 (from 90.000 tonnes) and 2021 (150.000 tonnes). A notable increase in production is taking place during the last 3 years due to the growth in demand for strontium ore by China.


Global Market


  • Strontium market size was over USD 400 million in 2017 and is projected to expand at over 6% CAGR between 2018 and 2025 (Global Market Insights, 2018). It is expected that the global strontium market will experience considerable growth at a fast rate. This is due to increased demand from several end-user industries (BlueQuark Research & Consulting, 2021).


  • The main strontium producer in the EU is Spain and the amount of production is sufficient to supply almost 100% of EU demands. On average the apparent EU consumption of strontium was 48,395 tonnes per year between 2016 and 2020.


Specific Issues for Strontium


  • The recycling rate of strontium is very limited (<1%) (UNEP, 2011) due to low recyclability of Sr-containing end-products.


  • In drilling muds, the alternative material for strontium carbonate is barite, which is normally

  • preferred, but celestite may substitute for some barite, especially when barite prices are high. (USGS, 2022). Ferrite ceramic magnets can also be produced using barium instead of strontium, accepting a reduced maximum operating temperature (USGS, 2022; SCRREEN workshops, 2019). 


  • Substituting for strontium in pyrotechnics is hindered by difficulty in obtaining the desired brilliance and visibility imparted by strontium and its compounds. (USGS, 2022).



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