China Puts the Brakes on Tungsten Production
Source: MetalMiner, Lisa Reisman (3/31/10)
"China tungsten consumption [is] approximately 25,000 tons. . .U.S. just under 11,000 tons."
Last week's announcement then from China's Land Ministry should come as no surprise as it has stopped accepting applications for new mines through June 30, 2011 according to this Business Week article.
The Chinese have said the policy to curb exports have more to do with "protecting resources" for domestic demand. But the practical effect of such moves will involve higher prices (perhaps the real reason the Chinese wish to limit tungsten exports). APT prices (an intermediate product) for the European market appear below:
In addition, China will limit production to 80,000 tons annually. And according to another article, China consumption of tungsten equates to approximately 25,000 tons. According to the USGS latest survey, the U.S. consumed just under 11,000 tons.
Prices in the U.S. for tungsten concentrate (Wolframite) averaged $150/mtu. We'll continue to monitor tungsten developments.