Market fundamentals still strong for tungsten

October 15, 2012

Metal Pages Ltd has published its latest ‘World Tungsten Report’ (September 2012) which reviews trends and developments in the supply and demand for tungsten concentrate, APT and tungsten and tungsten carbide powders.


Fig. 1  Prices for tungsten carbide powder

3-4micron (top) and Tungsten APT (Courtesy

Metal Pages Ltd)

The report, prepared by Mark Seddon at Tungsten Market Research Ltd, states that the focus remains very much on the tungsten supply situation in China, and new mining projects in Australia, Vietnam, South Korea,Spain, UK, Canada, USA, and Uzbekistan which could add global capacity in 2013.

The principal exporters of tungsten ores and concentrates currently are Russia, Canada, Portugal and Bolivia. For tungstates exports come from China, The Netherlands and the USA. The current availability of supplies from existing tungsten mines in Canada and Portugal are said to be finite, and the Mittersill mine in Austria is principally for in-house use and is therefore unlikely to supply much material to the free market.

In recent years China has restricted exports of tungsten and tungsten products, particularly for ores and concentrates and intermediate products such as APT and oxides, in order to protect its domestic tungsten industry.

In terms of pricing, the report states that tungsten has outperformed other similar metals in recent years ‘illustrating the relatively strong fundamental position in the tungsten market’. However, internal APT prices in China have fallen by almost 20% in 2012 with a similar drop for Chinese tungsten concentrates. Tungsten carbide powder prices in China have fallen by around 15% in the same period.

The report forecasts tungsten prices to return to an upward trend if demand firms up towards the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, as supply from new tungsten mining projects is unlikely to impact on the market until the end of next year at the earliest.

The ‘World Tungsten Report’ September 2012 is available from Metal Pages for $370.  



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