Global tungsten supply has been short for years, with most production coming from China. The Asian nation holds the largest reserves of the metal, and accounts for about 84.5 percent of the world’s total tungsten output.
However, a recent report speculates that Chinese tungsten supply may be set to tighten in the coming years. Indeed, it notes that the country is currently “manag[ing] export quota[s], purchas[ing] and stor[ing] tungsten resources, as well as implement[ing] other tightening policies.”
That might spell bad news for tungsten end users, but it could be a boon for tungsten-focused companies outside of China. With that in mind, the Investing News Network is working to provide overviews of publicly traded tungsten companies working in countries other than China. Take a look at our primer on tungsten companies in Spain, Portugal and the UK here, and read on to learn about tungsten companies operating in Asia, North America, Africa and Australia.
The Sangdong tungsten-moly deposit in South Korea is one of the largest tungsten resources in the world. It has an estimated mineral resource of 357,799,000 tonnes, including an indicated resource of 16,431,000 tonnes and an inferred resource of 19,368,000 tonnes. Sangdong was owned by Woulfe Mining before the company was acquired by Almonty Industries (TSXV:AII).
Almonty believes that it has the financial support to bring Sangdong into production, and recently announced that it will complete a non-brokered private placement of a secured convertible debenture in the principal amount of $4 million, plus a non-brokered private placement of 2.1 million common shares at a price of $0.08 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of $1.68 million. Furthermore, it will complete an unsecured bridge financing of $2.1 million for combined total gross proceeds of $7.78 million.
Hazelwood Resources (ASX:HAZ) is a specialty metals producer focused on its 60-percent-owned ATC ferrotungsten project in Vietnam. In September, the company announced that it had signed long-term contracts with three Japanese buyers for ferrotungsten from ATC.
Once one of Canada’s main tungsten producers, North American Tungsten (TSXV:NTC) is now receiving creditor protection, and recently announced that its Cantung mine will close temporarily from October 27. The company said that it hopes to resume operations at Cantung, which is one of the largest operating tungsten mines outside China, by summer 2016.
Explorer Knick Exploration (TSXV:KNX) holds the Trecesson tungsten-gold project in Quebec. It also holds the Quebec-based East-West project, and in September it initiated a major review of that project. The review will include an in-depth review of Knick’s major database.
Happy Creek Minerals (TSXV:HPY) is a junior exploration company with various projects in BC, including its Fox tungsten-moly project. The company closed a $1.1-million financing in September, and proceeds will be used to further explore Fox and for general working capital.
Also in BC is Margaux Resources (TSXV:MRL) with its Jersey Emerald tungsten-zinc property. In March, the company updated its resource estimate for the project, seeing a 6-percent increase in the measured plus indicated category, as well as an 84-percent rise in the inferred category. The new measured and indicated resource stands at 3.071 million tonnes averaging 0.341 percent tungsten, while the inferred resource is 5.48 million tonnes of 0.273 percent tungsten; both are at a 0.15 percent cut-off grade.
Another company working in Canada is Northcliffe Resources (TSX:NCF), which holds the advanced-stage Sisson tungsten-moly project in New Brunswick. The New Brunswick Department of Environment and local government accepted the project’s final environmental impact assessment in March, which was a critical milestone for the company. More recently, Northcliffe announced that it has closed a private placement financing for $2.57 million.
Elementos (ASX:ELT) is an ASX-listed company working in the US. The company recently announced the results of an independent open-pit scoping study, the second stage of a three-stage development plan for its Cleveland tin–copper–tungsten project.
Premier African Minerals (LSE:PREM) is a London-listed company that is focused on its 49-percent-owned RHA tungsten project in Zimbabwe, which began production in June. The company completed an offtake agreement with Noble Resources in March; it will see Premier supply 500 tonnes of wolframite concentrate from RHA. Most recently, the company reported that the project’s processing plant is performing 25 percent higher than initial design expectations.
Australia is the 10th-largest tungsten-producing country in the world, and saw significant output growth in 2014 — production jumped from 320 MT to 600 MT.
Vital Metals (ASX:VML) is an ASX-listed company focused on the development of its its Watershed tungsten project in Queensland. The company announced revisions to the definitive feasibility study for the project this past June; the new study shows a reduction in pre-production capex from AU$172 million to AU$143 million.
Carbine Tungsten is also working in Queensland at its Mt Carbine tungsten mine. In its annual report, released in September, the company said that it has been working with two tungsten offtake and investment groups to advance its plans both technically and commercially for the open-pit redevelopment phase of the project. Carbine also secured a US$15-million secured loan from Mitsubishi (TSE:8058) for the first phase of the Mt Carbine hard-rock project.
Another company with a tungsten project Down Under is Thor Mining (LSE:THR,ASX:THR) with its advanced Molyhil tungsten-moly project in the Northern Territory. In its 2015 annual report, the company said that its project development capex estimate has been reduced by 8 percent, to AU$64 million. The project has a post-tax NPV of AU$72 million and a 50-percent IRR.
King Island Scheelite (ASX:KIS) is working to redevelop the Dolphin tungsten project on King Island, which is just off the coast of Tasmania. The former mine at Dolphin was run as an open-pit operation until 1875 and as an underground mine up to 1990. In its September corporate update, King Island Scheelite said that the existing open-cut mine has been dewatered; it is in the process of finalizing all necessary land, permits and approvals to commence construction.
Are there any other publicly traded tungsten producer or tungsten development company in Asia, North America, Africa or Australia that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.