Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a chemical element with symbol W and atomic number 74. The word tungsten comes from the Swedish language tungsten directly translatable to heavy stone.
Tungsten is a greyish-white lustrous metal, which is a solid at room temperature. Tungsten has the highest melting point and lowest vapor pressure of all metals, and at temperatures over 1650°C has the highest tensile strength. It has excellent corrosion resistance and is attacked only slightly by most mineral acids.
Tungsten (W) 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.
Global tungsten demand has increased on average by 2.7% per annum since 2008, although estimates suggests that this will slow to 2.6% per annum in the years to 2018 as its direct use in lighting applications diminishes.
Representing 12% of total demand in 2013, tungsten used in lighting applications is forecast to decline by around 5% per annum in the years to 2018. The drop-off in demand is caused by the replacement of incandescent bulbs by fluorescent and LED bulbs in both industrial and domestic applications. On a positive note, however, these new lighting products require greater volumes of refractory tungsten alloys indirectly in their manufacture, boosting demand in the alloy sector.
Tungsten consumption from other electronic and electrical applications, including electrical contacts, electron emitters and lead-in wires, is forecast to grow at 5.4% per annum through to 2018, more than double the overall trend.
The resistance of tungsten to wear and corrosion and its ability to withstand arcing make it a suitable metal for use in contacts and voltage regulators. Demand from these applications however is minor in terms of volume, meaning by 2018 their share of demand would only be 2%.
This report seeks to examine the financial viability or otherwise of mining tungsten ore 10% and processing same into tungsten ore 65%. Processing and separation of the tungsten would be done in any of the processing plant stated in the body of the report.
The business would entail using mechanized method of mining to produce 250 tons per month of tungsten ore in which minimum of 25 tons of 65% tungsten would be extracted.
In the above projections 100 tons of rocks with 10 % tungsten content will give 10 tons of pure 100% tungsten which should translate to approx. 15 tons of 65% grade but putting recoveries and loss of material during processing and to allow for low expectations associated with mineral processing. We use a 10 tons of 65% grade in our estimates, possibilities are there that we might be able to achieve more than 10 tons.