Tungsten: a strategic metal

Tungsten is the only element harder than diamond. It is 100 times stronger than steel and has one of the highest melting points of any metal: higher than nickel, iron, titanium and vanadium.

It is used in many heavy industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, automotive and military and in most applications it is not substitutable. As a result, tungsten is a strategic metal that developed economies cannot operate without[1] and many governments consider it vital to national security.  

Given its unique and valuable properties, mainly as a strengthening agent, the European Union ranked tungsten as one of Europe’s most critical raw materials, with the highest supply risk of all materials on the list. 

It is therefore a growing concern that the supply of tungsten is so heavily dominated by China, who control nearly 80% of global supply and consumption.

At Apollo Minerals we are working towards the potential reactivation of the Salau tungsten mine in the south of France. The mine was previously one of the world’s highest grade tungsten mines and remains open at depth.

Potential exists for us to reopen the mine and provide a long term secure source of supply to French and other European end users from our location in the heart of the European Union.

If reopened, it has the potential to generate employment and provide economic stimulus to the Ariege region.

An essential industrial metal with outstanding properties:

KEY APPLICATIONS

  • Highest tensile strength and melting point (3,400°C) of all metals
  • Very high density and second strongest material after diamond
  • A strategic commodity: Critical for many industries including drilling, automotive, military and aerospace
  • Cemented carbides used in drilling tools and wear-resistant parts (55%)
  • Alloy steels and alloys used primarily in tools (21%)
  • Fabricated tungsten products e.g. electrical & electronic contacts (18%)
  • Chemical applications and products (6%)

An essential industrial metal with outstanding properties:

  • Highest tensile strength and melting point (3,400°C) of all metals
  • Very high density and second strongest material after diamond
  • A strategic commodity: Critical for many industries including drilling, automotive, military and aerospace
  • An EU study on the review of the list of critical metals in 2017 ranked tungsten as #1 critical metal

KEY APPLICATIONS

  • Cemented carbides used in drilling tools and wear-resistant parts (55%)
  • Alloy steels and alloys used primarily in tools (21%)
  • Fabricated tungsten products e.g. electrical & electronic contacts (18%)
  • Chemical applications and products (6%)

EUROPEAN END-USERS ARE SEEKING SECURITY OF SUPPLY OUTSIDE CHINA

CHINA DOMINATES THE TUNGSTEN MARKET

  • Tungsten is a highly strategic metal used in military, aerospace and other heavy industry
  • Rated a top critical raw material for Europe by EU
  • These dynamics point to potential favourable terms for long term supply contracts
  • China accounts for >80% of global tungsten mine production
  • Recently confirmed it had become a net importer of tungsten from global markets

Limited Large Scale Supply: only 2 mines exist outside of China with production capacity greater than 3,000tpa tungsten in concentrate.

TUNGSTEN MARKET AND PRICING:

  • Tungsten concentrate (containing WO3) is refined by processors into Ammonium Para Tungstate (APT)
  • APT prices quoted in metric tonne units or mtu of WO3 (1 mtu = 10kg)
  • APT price at March 1 2018 US$320 per mtu
  • Total market estimated at 80,000t primary tungsten metal (W), equivalent to ~100,000t tungsten trioxide (WO3)

EUROPEAN END-USERS ARE SEEKING SECURITY OF SUPPLY OUTSIDE CHINA

  • Tungsten is a highly strategic metal used in military, aerospace and other heavy industry
  • Rated #1 critical raw material for Europe by EU
  • These dynamics point to potential favourable terms for long term supply contracts

CHINA DOMINATES THE TUNGSTEN MARKET

  • China accounts for >80% of global tungsten mine production
  • Recently confirmed it had become a net importer of tungsten from global markets

Limited Large Scale Supply: only 2 mines exist outside of China with production capacity greater than 3,000tpa tungsten in concentrate.

TUNGSTEN MARKET AND PRICING:

  • Tungsten concentrate (containing WO3) is refined by processors into Ammonium Para Tungstate (APT)
  • APT prices quoted in metric tonne units or mtu of WO3 (1 mtu = 10kg)
  • APT price at May 24 2018 US$340 per mtu
  • Total market estimated at 80,000t primary tungsten metal (W), equivalent to ~100,000t tungsten trioxide (WO3)