A recent report published by Roskill claims that demand for cemented carbide products will increase by 3.6% per year up to 2018. Greater automotive production, particularly in North America, China and Europe, in addition to increasing demand in mining and wear resistant applications is driving the market states the report.
Growth in tungsten demand will be led by the Asian market, particularly China which accounted for 48% of consumption in 2013, states Roskill. China is forecast to further increase its share of global tungsten demand to 52% by 2018, outpacing both European and North American demand growth.
The report states that Chinese production accounted for 80% of global mine production in 2013, falling from a peak of 84% in 2010. The main production centres in China are in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, extracting both wolframite and scheelite bearing ores. China’s share of global production is expected to reduce going forward, although it is forecast to remain the dominant producer at 78% of global mine supply in 2018.
Secondary production of tungsten has become an increasingly important source of tungsten for processors such as Plansee Group, H.C. Starck and the newly expanded Kennametal, as the technology and the capacity to recycle tungsten containing products have become more widespread, states Roskill.
Europe and the USA are the main centres for tungsten recycling with approximately 45% of tungsten demand met by recycled materials in 2013. In Asia, Japan sourced around 20-30% of domestic tungsten demand from recycled material in 2013, compared to approximately 15% in China.
The report highlights the fact that the rise in recycling outside China has significantly reduced China’s influence on the global market and diminished the effects of its export restrictions. Secondary tungsten formed 22% of global supply in 2014, and it is forecast to increase to 26% by 2018, driven predominantly by more widespread recycling of cemented carbide scrap in China.
Roskill’s ‘Tungsten: Market Outlook to 2018’ report contains full estimates for 2013, profiles on major producers and projects, an assessment of key market trends and an outlook for supply, demand and prices to 2018.