*These negotiated bid results
were reported by the DNSC as "Approximate."
U.S.Geological Survey (USGS): Tungsten
Statistics and Information: Tungsten is a metal with a wide range of uses, the largest of which is as tungsten carbide in cemented carbides.Cemented carbides (also called hardmetals) are wear-resistant materials used by the metalworking, mining, and construction industries.Tungsten metal wires, electrodes, and/or contacts are used in lighting, electronic, electrical, heating, and welding applications.Tungsten is also used to make heavy metal alloys for armaments, heat sinks, and high-density applications, such as weights and counterweights; superalloys for turbine blades; tool steels; and wear-resistant alloy parts and coatings.Tungsten composites are used as a substitute for lead in bullets and shot.Tungsten chemical compounds are used in catalysts, inorganic pigments, and high-temperature lubricants.
(Data in metric tons of tungsten content unless otherwise noted)
U.S. Domestic Production and Use: Limited shipments of tungsten concentrates were made from a California mine in 2008. Approximately eight companies in the United States processed tungsten concentrates, ammonium paratungstate, tungsten oxide, and/or scrap to make tungsten powder, tungsten carbide powder, and/or tungsten chemicals. One of these companies announced that it planned to expand its tungsten processing plant in Pennsylvania. Nearly 60 industrial consumers were surveyed on a monthly or annual basis. Data reported by these consumers indicate that more than one-half of the tungsten consumed in the United States was used in cemented carbide parts for cutting and wear-resistant materials, primarily in the construction, metalworking, mining, and oil- and gas-drilling industries. The remaining tungsten was consumed to make tungsten heavy alloys for applications requiring high density; electrodes, filaments, wires, and other components for electrical, electronic, heating, lighting, and welding applications; steels, superalloys, and wear-resistant alloys; and chemicals for various applications. The estimated value of apparent consumption in 2008 was $560 million.
U.S. Recycling: In 2008, the tungsten contained in scrap consumed by processors and end users represented approximately 35% of apparent consumption of tungsten in all forms.
U.S. Import Sources (2004-07): Tungsten contained in ores and concentrates, intermediate and primary products, wrought and unwrought tungsten, and waste and scrap: China, 43%; Germany, 11%; Canada, 10%; Bolivia, 7%; and other, 29%.
Normal trade relations 12/31/2008
37.5¢/kg Tungsten content.
5.5% ad val.
5.5% ad val.
5.5% ad val.
5.6% ad val.
7.0% ad val.
U.S. Depletion Allowance: 22% (Domestic), 14% (Foreign).
U.S. Government Stockpile:
Stockpile Status- 09/30/2008
Authorized For Disposal
Disposal Plan FY 2008
Disposals FY 2008
Ores and concentates
Events, Trends, and Issues:
World tungsten supply was dominated by Chinese production and exports. China’s Government restricted the amounts of tungsten that could be produced and exported, imposed constraints on mining and processing tungsten ores, continued to shift the balance of export quotas towards value-added downstream tungsten materials and products, and imposed or increased export duties on many tungsten materials. The growth in China’s economy during the past decade has resulted in China becoming the world’s largest tungsten consumer. To conserve its resources and meet increasing domestic demand, the Chinese Government was expected to continue to limit tungsten production and exports and to increase imports of tungsten. In addition, the Chinese tungsten industry was investing in mine development projects outside China and developing technologies to increase the use of tungsten scrap and the processing of both low-grade ores and mixed scheelite-wolframite concentrates.
Numerous companies worked towards developing tungsten deposits or reopening inactive tungsten mines in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. In 2007-08, new production of tungsten concentrates began in Australia, China, Peru, Spain, the United States, and Uzbekistan. The serious downturn in the global financial markets in late 2008 could delay the startup of additional proposed production, however.
Health, safety, and environmental issues have been significant to the production and use of tungsten in recent years.
World Mine Production, Reserves, and Reserve Base: Production estimates for China were revised downward to represent tungsten content of concentrates; production estimates for Russia were revised downward based on new information from that country.
World total (rounded)
World Resources: World tungsten resources are geographically widespread. China ranks number one in the world in terms of tungsten resources and reserves and has some of the largest deposits. Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the United States also have significant tungsten resources.
Substitutes: Potential substitutes include cemented carbides based on molybdenum carbide and titanium carbide, ceramics, ceramic-metallic composites (cermets), diamond tools, and tool steels for cemented tungsten carbides; molybdenum for certain tungsten mill products; molybdenum steels for tungsten steels; lighting based on carbon nanotube filaments, induction technology, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for lighting based on tungsten electrodes or filaments; depleted uranium for tungsten alloys or unalloyed tungsten in weights and counterweights; and depleted uranium alloys for cemented tungsten carbides or tungsten alloys in armor-piercing projectiles. In some applications, substitution would result in increased cost or a loss in product performance.
(e) Estimated. NA Not available.
(W) Withheld to avoid disclosing company proprietary data. — Zero. (1)No tariff for Canada and Mexico. Tariffs for other countries for some items may be eliminated under special trade agreements.
U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2009