[Knowledge of Tungsten] Tungsten Mineralization


Tungsten Minerals: The only two tungsten minerals of any importance are two tungstates or oxides, their relative values being determined by the measure used to determine mine ore grades and mine concentrate grades, i.e. the tungsten trioxide or WO3, content:

Scheelite, a calcium tungsten oxide, CaWO4  -  contains 80.5% WO3

Wolframite, an iron-manganese tungsten oxide, (Fe, Mn)WO4  -  the iron rich variety, called Ferberite, contains 76.3% WO3; the manganese rich variety is termed Hubnerite and contains 76.6% WO3

Tungsten Deposits: Tungsten principally occurs in four main geological settings, as:

Skarn deposits - where granites are intruded into limestones

Vein deposits - in quartz veins adjacent to granites, as a series of larger separate veins

Sheeted vein deposits - as multiple, narrow, closely spaced, quartz veins forming large sheeted vein systems within and adjacent to granites

Pegmatites - very coarse segregations/concentrations of specific minerals at the margins of granites

Metals and Minerals Associated with Tungsten: Tungsten mineralisation is frequently associated with minor quantities of sulphides, usually iron sulphides, but occasionally with economic quantities of copper sulphides; it may also have specific associations with other potentially economic minerals:

Tungsten and tin in vein and sheeted vein deposits

Tungsten and gold in sheeted vein deposits

Tungsten and magnetite in skarn deposits

Tungsten and molybdenum in skarn deposits

Tungsten and lithium, tantalum, niobium and tin in pegmatite deposits

[Knowledge of Tungsten] Overview of Tungsten

Tungsten is a metal with unique properties making it an essential component in many industrial applications. Critical properties include - very high melting point, very high density, hardness close to diamond, thermally and chemically stable, excellent conductor, and environmentally benign.


Ammonium Paratungstate (APT) Prices Likely to Rise in 2013; Friction Remains between Europe and Asia

Ammonium paratungstate (APT) prices should begin to rise in 2013, which is noted by Brian Wesson, ceo and president of tungsten junior miner Woulfe Mining.

There has been mounting tension between some sellers in Europe and China, as the only concluded business has been coming into Europe at lower and lower numbers, while Chinese market participants have begun refusing to sell below about $340.00/mtu. APT prices from mainstream website currently stands at $280.00-310.00/mtu, after weeks of almost non-existent trading, in which only small parcels were sold. 
“The long-term price will be about $300.00-330.00/mtu. We will see it getting higher,” Wesson said.
“It backed off mostly because of a bit of softening in China, but everybody believes China will move back into a big growth phase,” he added.
Tungsten prices, in general, have been resilient during the most recent financial crisis, according to Wesson, as the material has remained in relatively high demand from the steelmaking industry.
However, the market has been particularly illiquid in recent months, as buyers hold back on macroeconomic uncertainty, exports from China diminish, and sellers wait for some improvement.
“[China] put an export tax on it and with most business coming out of China, that made it very, very difficult,” Wesson said.
“They’ve been using more and more [APT], and I think they’re going to become a net importer of tungsten. That leaves a big gap in the Western world,” he added.
This gap should be supportive of prices, furthermore, as a lack of supply will allow sellers in Europe to push levels up.
“We still believe the outlook for tungsten is very strong. [There was a report] that gave us a prediction for $390.00/mtu. If you don’t have tungsten, you can’t [replace it],” Wesson said.
“There has been a lot of friction in the market,” he added. “But people still used tungsten when we had the financial crisis and the price was quite steady.”
Wesson is also expecting stimulus in China, coupled with structural issues at tungsten mines, to be supportive of the price.
Furthermore, excluding Woulfe Mining, which will begin production in about 12 months, there is very little new supply coming on-stream.
“There are very few new players [apart from us]. We’re ready to start mining ore – we just need to build the processing plant,” Wesson said.
In the meantime, however, the friction between participants in China and Europe is likely to continue until the first quarter of next year and possibly beyond, as new business has yet to be concluded at levels above Metal Bulletin’s range.

Cost Effective Tungsten Alloy for Protection against X-rays and Gamma Radiation

Whether in the world of medical or industrial X-ray technology, radiotherapy or nuclear power stations: Wherever high-energy radiation is used, it is vital to protect people against it.

The denser the material, the better able it is to protect from radiation. That is why heavy elements absorb X-rays and gamma radiation particularly well. Lead is still the most frequently used shielding material. Because it is a very soft material, it is mostly used only in combination with support structures made of steel.DENSIMET container


Tungsten carbide rings is the new black -- surprise him with a strong gift


With the holidays here, it will soon be time to start the challenging process of finding the perfect gift for the man in your life. Why not a gift that captures your special guys' strength and power, with a bold sense of adventure?

If you miss Christmas, something surprising in the New Year would also be welcome.

In the past, typically men's rings were made from the same material that women's rings were made from. Gold, silver and platinum were all great options for men. However, changes in taste and lifestyle have brought other materials for mens' rings to the forefront, chiefly among them tungsten carbide rings.

Tungsten carbide has been to space, is used in industry and has applications in the aerospace and military arenas, making it that much more desirable for the modern male to have on his finger. They have a futuristic aura. For the man in your life lucky enough to receive one from you, it gives him unique freedom to express his individuality.

Tungsten is a very hard, dense metal, possessing the highest melting point of all metals - 6,100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, by itself tungsten is very susceptible to scratching and other damage. When combined with a carbon alloy, it gains a hardness of 8.5 to 9.5 on the Mohs scale, making it optimal for use in industry as well.

Due to their extreme hardness and always polished appearance, tungsten carbide rings make a great gift for the man in your life. Because of their hardness, the ring will never be scratched. And unlike titanium rings, which are also hot on the men's jewelry market now, a tungsten carbide ring cannot be bent out of shape.

One drawback to all this damage resistance, however, in that tungsten carbide rings are almost impossible to resize. For this reason, if the ring is to be a gift, make sure you select the right size.

When selecting a tungsten ring for the man on your list, make sure to select a cobalt-free ring. Some cheaper tungsten carbide rings use this alloy in the production process. Cobalt can be combined with tungsten much easier, making for a cheaper production process. However, the cobalt can react with the oils in your skin and develop permanent oxidation damage that cannot be removed.

For a gift as strong and powerful as the special man you are selecting it for - tungsten carbide stands the test of time. 

Tungsten Carbide Recycling Plant is Going to Built in United States

The industrial services firm Kennametal Inc., Latrobe, Pa., says it has begun researching the possibility of building a tungsten carbide recycling facility in the United States and is looking at possible locations for the proposed plant. If built, the facility would serve Kennametal markets on a global basis.


The Transaction Volume of Tungsten Concentrate Market is not Satisfied

Tungsten concentrate price is cooling down today. Some traders are going to do settlement at the end of 2012, so the fund pressure becomes obviously. In order to solve this problem, traders only choose to reduce their offers to increase order. Currently, 65% tungsten concentrate price based in Ganzhou could reach ¥115,000.00-119,000.00/mt. 60% Scheelite concentrate price based in Hunan focus on ¥114,000.00/mt.

However, some tungsten concentrate suppliers are not confidence with later tungsten concentrate market while traders try to suppress the price. It is understood that the demand of end users is seriously insufficient and the purchasing cost of downstream products is high. Many traders cannot consume their products in time which directly affect the market of raw market. Although tungsten concentrate suppliers have reduced their prices, it is not attractive for buyers enough. Insiders expect that tungsten concentrate price is going to cool down, the real transaction price would centralize on ¥116,000.00-118,000.00/mt

Scrap Tungsten Market is Inactive Recently


The mainstream scrap tungsten price maintains steady. The transaction price excluding tax of bit concentrates on ¥187.00-¥191.00/kg, domestic blade is ¥172.00-¥176.00/kg, imported blade is ¥182-186/kg; scrap pure tungsten block is ¥208.00-¥213.00/kg.

The price of the content of scrap tungsten grinding material which is more than 70W is ¥1330.00/mtu, 50W-70W is ¥1270.00/mtu, 30W-40W is ¥1110.00/mtu. The prices above are steady. 10W-20W tungsten unit to ¥635.00/mtu while 8W-10W tungsten to ¥571.00/mtu.

High-level of tungsten concentrate prices has been pared back slightly constantly. The weak situation of tungsten concentrate becomes obvious. Under this circumstance, prices of other tungsten products are hard to increase. At the end of year, scrap tungsten resource is short as well as demand, so traders are inactive to deal. Downstream suppliers do purchasing depend on their requirement, so the intermediate transaction volume is not large. Chinatungsten Online predict that scrap tungsten prices will keep steady constantly.

In the international market, the lowest price of oversea tungsten market shows trend to move up. By the night of 12th, the guiding price of MB ferrotungsten in warehouse Rotterdam maintains $42.30-43.50 per kilogram tungsten, which has increased $0.25; the quotation of ammonium paratungstate keeps $304.00-330.00/mtu.


Tungsten Concentrate Market Shows Downward Trend


Tungsten concentrate market situation tends to be weak that highest-quotation of tungsten concentrate cool back and it is hard to make a deal. As to relate tungsten products, demand of ammonium paratungstate (APT) is still very low. It is hard for suppliers to receive order from end user that many factory owners choose to stop producing. Market of tungsten powder and tungsten carbide powder are steady relatively, the highest quotation could be ¥275.00/kg. Suppliers are not willing to deal at low price level. Chinatungsten Online expected that general situation of tungsten products market shows its downward trend because of weak tungsten demand.

Ken Chernin Shares Extraordinary Stories of Tungsten

The Critical Metals Report: We're seeing bubbling interest in tungsten. Let's talk a little about their uses.

Ken Chernin: Tungsten is historically known as a "war metal" because it was primarily used in ballistics. Demand and pricing followed the historical path of conflict. In recent years, the biggest market has become something called cemented carbide. It is used primarily in specialty tools that need to withstand excessive heat and require extreme durability, like drill bits for oil and gas and mineral drilling. Right now, tungsten's demand is closely linked to gross domestic product, especially with China. The reason I like tungsten is I see it changing from a demand story to a supply story.

TCMR: Are you saying you see potential supply problems with tungsten?

KC: Yes, I do. Tungsten, when I first looked at it, read like a rare earth elements (REEs) story in that 86% of global supply came from China. In REEs, it's around 95%. The Chinese government seems determined to restrict exports because it has made a significant investment in downstream, higher-margin industries using tungsten. Therefore, it is determined to keep what resources it has for itself.

TCMR: Just like the REEs.

KC: Exactly. I found in my research that only three tungsten mines outside of China have operated without extended closures in the past 60 to 70 years. As a result, there was an enormous loss of tungsten-specific knowledge. Tungsten mining and processing is very unique. Today, companies with brownfield or greenfield projects will likely have trouble finding the right people.

Another dynamic is that the higher-grade deposits have been depleted. A large proportion of the new projects are very low grade. Some are 0.09% grades, which is approximately three times lower grade than some tailing recovery projects.

TCMR: China is suffering from all the environmental impact of its mining activities over the years. We certainly would like to see more attention paid to cleaner projects.

KC: Absolutely. That's a very good point. China has moved to close smaller, less efficient tungsten as well as fluorspar mines and has implemented policies aimed at consolidating both industries. That said, in late January 2012, the World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed its findings from a mid-2011 decision that China's export restrictions on several industrial raw materials, which included fluorspar, were in breach of WTO rules. Although China claimed that the export restrictions on these industrial raw materials were justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy, the WTO did not agree. The complaint was brought by the U.S., Mexico and the European Union. In March 2012, the U.S., the European Union and Japan launched a new WTO dispute against China's export quotas on tungsten, rare earths and molybdenum, and China is again citing environmental and sustainability concerns.

TCMR: Can North American tungsten investors participate in the tungsten story?

KC: Absolutely. We published a research report on Sept. 26 on three publicly traded producers. All tungsten investors is listed in Canada. They're all in production. Tungsten prices have dropped since a year ago to about $350 per metric ton unit (mtu) from $450/mtu (which is 10 kilograms). If we get another sudden spike, these companies benefit immediately. All three companies' contracts are tied to the market price of ammonium paratungstate (APT), which is the main tungsten intermediate.

North American Tungsten is the largest tungsten mine outside of China and the only tungsten mine in North America, so it has strategic importance. However, in my mind, its remote location presents a challenge. I refer to the company as somewhat of a swing producer, as it has been closed in the past owing to low tungsten prices.

TCMR: So, it can essentially come along as the commodity price increases?

KC: Yes, the majority of the operation's costs are fixed so there is leverage there.

TCMR: Spain seems to be a reasonable place to have a mine in terms of jurisdictional risk, infrastructure and support.

KC: Very true. Right now, the mine is running off diesel generators, but the operation is only about seven kilometers from a power substation. Last time I spoke to the company, it was in the process of acquiring the necessary permits to install the power lines. The next step would be putting in the last flotation circuit. The company's stated goal is to achieve recoveries of 65% by the end of the calendar year. Looking at this team and what they've done so far with just putting in a hydrosizer, I believe we're going to see 75–76% recoveries. The cost per mtu has already decreased, and the company is just getting going. Next, it is looking at optimizing the mine, which is open pit.

It's impressive. I was quite impressed with Lewis Black and the chief financial officer (CFO). There is not a lot of information on tungsten out there and Black obviously knows this metal. From Panasqueira, he has put together a team with considerable experience working with tungsten. His team has essentially outlined the optimization of Los Santos in 10 months. Essentially, all Almonty has to do is install the flotation circuit and then optimize the pit.

The company is also looking for acquisitions. We believe that Almonty has aspirations of becoming a global tungsten story.

TCMR: Tell us a little about Malaga.

KC: The Malaga deposit is interesting because there are two different types of commercial tungsten deposits. One is scheelite, which Almonty and North American Tungsten have. The other is wolframite, which is what Malaga is currently mining. Wolframite is much easier to work with and adequate recoveries are achieved with the gravity tables coupled with magnetic separation; flotation is not necessary. The other thing that's really interesting about Malaga, aside from being one of only a few wolframite mines in the Western world, is that it has a 49% interest in a hydroelectricity plant that currently provides approximately 70% of the mine's power demand, with the remaining power coming from the national grid. For these reasons, it is the lowest-cost tungsten concentrate producer of all the publicly traded tungsten companies.

Management recently changed about a year ago. The new CFO, Pierre Monet, has recently started the construction of a tailings recovery pilot plant. This is interesting because it is partially funded by Global Tungsten & Powders Corp. (private), with which it has an offtake agreement. If the company achieves its targeted 50% recovery rate, we estimate that the tailings recovery could increase the company's total tungsten concentrate production by about 14% and reduce cash costs per mtu by about 7%.

TCMR: This would be an interesting one.

KC: It is interesting. The project is Pasto Bueno, which means "good ground." The mine has been in existence since 1910. If the pilot plant works, management is going to install additional similar screens into its main processing facility. If the installation of these screens meet management's expectations, it may be able to boost recoveries by about 5%, which would put it up to about 80%. This would be meaningful for its cost per mtu.

Very little exploration work has been done on the property. What exploration has been done was always focused on the north end of the project. Malaga's new CEO drilled a few holes in the southern portion and discovered a scheelite deposit. The grades thus far look to be encouraging. It has potential to be a high-grade and sizable new tungsten project with excellent infrastructure that is very close to the existing mine. That's very unique.

TCMR: What can you tell us about North American Tungsten, since it's really the only North American tungsten outfit?

KC: It has two projects. Cantung has been in operation since the 1960s.

TCMR: Is it currently producing?

KC: Yes, in fact it is the largest producing tungsten mine in the Western world. Its production in 2011 was approximately 224 thousand mtu (Kmtu), whereas Malaga's was approximately 55 Kmtu and Almonty's was approximately 65 Kmtu when it was owned and operated by Heemskirk Consolidated Ltd. (HSK:ASX). It has a compelling valuation. It's trading at about 50% of our net present value estimate. Again, it's a high-cost operation on the back of logistic challenges. It has good recoveries and high grades.

How this operation is run is encouraging, but there are a couple of issues: the diesel and labor. There is one road in, one road out, which was washed out in June 2012 and resulted in operations being suspended for almost two weeks. I believe that this is indicative of the challenges management faces due to the project's remote location. Workers are flown in and out, and the mine is virtually competing with every mine in Northern Canada for workers.

Ken Chernin has been an equity research analyst with Jennings Capital since November 2008. Prior to joining Jennings, Chernin was a special situations analyst at an Atlantic Canadian investment dealer, where he focused on Atlantic Canadian oil and gas, utility, food retail and real estate companies. He also worked as a research associate for a Toronto-based brokerage firm and in risk management for a Canadian funds management firm. He has corporate governance experience with the Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics and Board Effectiveness at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance. Chernin holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor's in communication from Saint Mary's University, Halifax.