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Global Tungsten Markets Renewed Growth Following Years of Oversupply

Roskill, a notable industry source in terms of analysing specialty metals noted last year that global tungsten markets were returning to growth following several years of oversupply and low prices.

In a Cemented Carbide Tool 10 year outlook statement, Roskill said, “Tungsten market fundamentals have changed as demand from defence, industrial, and oil and gas applications has picked up, just as environmental policies in China have curbed supply and added cost pressures for producers.”

The issue of supply is potentially a long-term price driver as China is the largest producer of tungsten globally, accounting for more than 80% of supply of tungsten concentrates in 2017.

A tightening in environmental restrictions has impacted the supply of many metals mined in China, with coal being severely impacted in recent years due to both environmental and mine safety issues.

Roskill reported that China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment had flagged a second round of central environmental inspections across all provinces within the next three years, an initiative that could result in either mine closures or the instigation of compliance demands that would result in increased costs Cemented Tungsten Carbide of production.

This could potentially render some mines uneconomical, prompting the need for the manufacturing giant to source tungsten from overseas producers. Such a scenario where supply is constrained and demand increases should theoretically drive up prices.

Shining the spotlight on three ASX listed tungsten plays, it certainly appears that these stocks could be in the early stages of a recovery, and indeed in some cases recent developments have been transformational.

Reuters reported that shares in metals miner Apollo Minerals rose as much as 40% to 14 cents on Monday, representing its best day in more than two years. This came on the back of the company receiving approval to reinstall mine services at its high-grade Salau tungsten mine in France.

Management has already shortlisted preferred drilling contractors for the initial underground drilling solid tungsten carbide rods program at Salau designed to confirm known zones of tungsten mineralisation and test for extensions of these zones as a precursor to estimation and reporting of a Mineral Resource Estimate in accordance with the JORC Code.

Discussing the significance of this development and in particular referring to the company’s potential to supply nearby markets, Apollo’s Executive Director, Hugo Schumann said, “The Salau mine has the potential to create significant jobs in the Ariege department and to provide a strategic supply of tungsten to French industrial companies who currently rely on China for most of its supply of this critical raw material.”


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Xiamen Tungsten Industry's Profit Increased Sharply in 2017

Recently, Xiamen Tungsten Industry announced its performance in 2017. Its annual report shows that the company realized revenue of 14.188 billion yuan, an increase of 66.37% year on year, and realized net profit of 618 million yuan for shareholders of listed companies, an increase of 320.66% year on year, which is higher than expected.

Tungsten products:
In 2017, the prices of tungsten concentrate and APT in China increased by 30% to 91,000 yuan/ton and 140,000 yuan/ton on a year-on-year basis, which led to a 2 PPT to 22% increase in the company's combined gross profit rate. At the same time, tungsten production increased significantly. In 2017, the output of tungsten powder products increased by 36% to 8813 tons, APT production increased by 3% to 16793 tons. In addition, the output of rare earth metals/magnetic materials increased by 1.4x/60% respectively.

In summary, enterprises benefit from the rise of tungsten price, and their profits are greatly increased; APT sales have reached a record high; tungsten powder products continue to maintain technological and industrial advantages, and sales have developed steadily; sales and profits of carbide deep-processing products have steadily increased, among which the key products, alloy bars, integral cutting tools and CNC blades, have been accumulated and developed for many years, and sales revenue and market have been increased. At the same time, the R&D investment of enterprises in cemented carbide production has also reached a record high.

Product structure optimization:
Thanks to the upsurge of new energy vehicles, the new energy battery industry has accelerated its expansion, which has led to a substantial growth in the domestic new energy materials industry. tungsten carbide burrs The company's output and productivity have also improved significantly. Xiamen tungsten industry has entered the field of battery cathode materials since 2003. It has witnessed and experienced the updating of mainstream products in the market from hydrogen storage alloys to lithium cobalt oxide and ternary materials. With the advantages of high energy density of NCA and NCM cathode materials, and in line with the future direction of power battery upgrading, Xiamen Tungsten Industry seized the opportunity in 2017 to expand the production capacity of corresponding materials, expanding 10,000 tons in Xiamen Base, 6,000 tons in Sanming Base and 20,000 tons in Ningde Base respectively.

Relevant agencies predict that the recovery market created by recovering cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium, iron and aluminium from spent power cemented carbide lithium batteries will exceed 5 billion yuan in 2018 and 13.6 billion yuan in 2020. It is generally believed that with the expansion of ternary power batteries in the future, the sources of cobalt metal will mainly come from the recycling field.

The recycling of batteries in Xiamen tungsten industry will further ensure the stable supply of raw materials, extend the industrial layout, and enhance the company's comprehensive strength and core competitiveness. In fact, more and more related enterprises have stepped up the market layout, including Ningde-era shares in Bongpu Group, Hunan Bongpu Power Battery Cycle Project expansion, Greenmay's capital increase to Ganzhou Greenmay, etc. (Information is synthesized from China Finance, Economics Information Network and Fujian Daily)


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Newcrest 2000 million Australian dollars for tungsten copper exploration

Mungana Goldmines Limited announced that, as Rock Drilling Tool part of the North Queensland Mungana's Chillagoe project exploration agreement, Newcrest Mining has started exploration activities. Under the agreement, Newcrest will spend up to $ 20 million for a period of eight years of exploration, focus on exploration Chillagoe region of large gold - copper porphyry deposits. Newcrest's exploration program will Mungana in Chillagoe, including strategic King Vol deposit development of high-grade zinc and base metals assets simultaneously.

Black Rock Mining Ltd 6 Inch DTH Hammer announced its latest project Mahenge graphite exploration activities in Tanzania. Since the 11 months before the start of exploration in Mahenge, the company mobilized two rigs and the largest field operations team. Exploration found 186 meters from the graphite content of 5.95 percent total, including two high-grade zone, 24 meters at 7.89% content and 86 meters at the content of 8.34 percent.

Vital Metals Ltd announced that due to positive correction final feasibility study, lower capital, operating cost reduction and a favorable exchange rate variation support, making 70% of its stake in North Queensland Watershed tungsten project further boost. In addition, the main tungsten market demand, China, India and the United States is entering an important stage of consumption.


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