Critical material – Strategic Importance
- Atomic # 74, chemical symbol “W”
- Two economic tungsten minerals – Wolframite / Scheelite
Unlike most base and precious metals, Tungsten is largely not smelted to form metal due to its high melting point and is instead extracted from crushed ore using a series of chemical reactions.
Due to the high-capital cost associated with the construction of a chemical processing plant to produce APT, the most commonly traded form of tungsten, most junior miners produce a tungsten concentrate.
Tungsten concentrates are typically composed of scheelite and/or wolframite and contain 65-70% tungsten trioxide (WO3) and vendors of concentrate tend to receive c. 70%-80% of the value of the tungsten in the concentrate based on the prevailing APT price.
Concentrates with grades lower than 65-70% WO3 have a lower demand, and therefore command a lower price c. 60%-70% of the value of the tungsten in the concentrate based on the prevailing APT price.
Tungsten concentrates are purchased by secondary processors that convert them into a variety of tungsten powders (intermediates), predominantly APT. These powders are used in downstream metals and alloys by tertiary manufacturers.