The global tungsten market size was valued at USD 5.09 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 10.07 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is widely used in many end-use industries owing to its inherent properties, such as a high melting point, relatively low vapor pressure, and excellent tensile strength. Additionally, tungsten has high corrosion resistance and is, therefore, resilient to acid attacks. The global demand for tungsten is expected to witness substantial growth during the forecast period, owing to increasing investments in mining and construction activities driven by technological innovation in machine equipment and the growth of the urban middle class. On the flip side, tungsten carbide decomposes at higher temperatures, shifting back to its initial form as carbide and tungsten, which may hamper the market growth to some extent.
Due to its strength, hardness, and toughness, tungsten carbide is very resistant to wear and impact. Mining industries are switching from steel to tungsten carbide because it increases tool life, cost-effectiveness, and productivity. Tungsten is majorly used in blast hole drilling, haul road maintenance, bulk handling, mineral processing, longwall extraction, roof bolting, and room & pillar extraction. Tungsten carbide is one of the most durable and cost-effective chemical compounds that can be used in the manufacturing process. Composed of equal amounts of tungsten and carbon, the material is found in powder form and is subsequently shaped through the sintering process. With a high tolerance for heat and pressure, Tungsten Carbide has been used in machines with critical functionality for years, and it is slowly making its way into the mining industry. Tungsten Carbides are used as attachments at the tip to reduce wear on the machine's metallic body, as compared to simply using a metallic body. A tip is less difficult to replace than a down-the-hole drilling unit. The mining industry uses Tungsten Carbides in the form of small button inserts or large attachments.
Tungsten is widely used in the electronics and power industries due to its low evaporation rate, high plasticity, high melting point, and high electron emission ability. For example, because of its high light rate and long service life, tungsten is widely used in the manufacture of various bulb filaments, such as incandescent lamps and halogen lamps. Tungsten wire can also be used in the manufacture of electronic tubes direct hot cathode, gate, and a variety of electronic instruments by hot cathode heater. Tungsten's properties make it suitable for TIG welding and other similar materials.
Manufacturers are having difficulty obtaining raw materials such as tungsten, which is used in power-management circuits and other microchips. These issues have a direct impact on the supply of finished consumer electronics products. China recently decided to restrict tungsten exports and buy up as much as possible, increasing the demand. Due to a scarcity of available tungsten on the global market, industries that rely on it appear to have few options. Thus, it can slow down the tungsten market.
The melting point of tungsten is the highest of all metals, its density is high and close to that of gold, its hardness is also very high, and the hardness of tungsten carbide is close to that of a diamond. Furthermore, tungsten has good electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity, as well as a low coefficient, and is widely used in alloys, electronics, and the chemical industry. The hardness of tungsten is very high and close to that of gold, so it can improve the hardness, strength, and wear resistance of steel. It is an important alloying element and is widely used in all types of steel production. Common tungsten steel is high-speed steel, and tungsten cobalt magnetic steel, and the steel is primarily used in the manufacture of various tools such as drills, milling cutters, wire drawing die, die and mold, etc. Wrought compounds are used as catalysts and inorganic colors, such as tungsten sulfide, which is used as a lubricant and catalyst in the synthesis of gasoline. Tungsten oxide, which is used in painting, and calcium or magnesium tungsten, which is used in fluorescent powder. It is used to make metal seals or glass because its thermal expansion is similar to that of borosilicate glass. Because tungsten has low sensitivity, it is used to make high-purity tungsten jewelry. Furthermore, tungsten was used in radioactive medicine, and some instruments will use tungsten wire.
The global tungsten market is segmented by application and end-use.
Based on application, the global tungsten market is bifurcated into metal alloys, tungsten carbide, and mill products.
The tungsten carbide segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR during the forecast period, owing to the material's exceptionally high tensile strength, which drives its application in tools, bits and gauges, and tough dies. Tungsten carbide is also used in industrial alloys, cemented carbide, ski poles, jewelry, and surgical tools. The growth of these end-use applications dominates the demand for tungsten carbide.
The mill products segment is expected to witness a higher CAGR. Mill products include electrodes, lighting filaments, electrical and electronic contacts, sheets, wires, rods, and so on. During the forecast period, advancements in the electronics industry will be the primary driver of mill tungsten market growth.
Based on the end-user, the global tungsten market is bifurcated into automotive parts, logging equipment, aerospace components, boring & cutting equipment, and electronics appliances.
The boring & cutting equipment segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR during the forecast period, owing to the rise in construction activities and infrastructure development (roads and railway). These equipment are employed in the mining, construction, oil and gas, and metallurgy industries.
The aerospace components segment is expected to grow at a significant rate. The product is widely used in the production of aerospace components such as inertial systems, fluid control systems, rotor blades, propellers, bucking bars, trim weights, aircraft balance weights, and many others.
The global tungsten market is bifurcated into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
North America region is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR during the forecast period. Economic stability in the U.S. and Canada is expected to drive the market in North America. According to World Mining Data, the U.S. was among the biggest mining nations and contributed to around 11.5% of the total mining activity globally. Additionally, the aerospace sector in the U.S. is one of the most competitive industries in the world and contributed around USD 151 billion in sales in 2018, as per Select USA. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, mines in the United States produced approximately $90.4 billion in mineral commodities in 2021, a $9.7 billion increase over the revised total of $80.7 billion in 2020. Nonfuel mineral commodities worth 90.4 billion dollars produced by U.S. mines in 2021 included other industrial mineral resources and natural aggregates, as well as nonferrous and ferrous metals. The estimated value of U.S. industrial mineral production in 2021 was $56.6 billion, accounting for 63% of total U.S. mine production value. Crushed stone was the pioneering nonfuel mineral commodity produced in the United States in 2021, accounting for 21% of total mine production value. Thus, the growing mining industry in the USA will drive the tungsten market throughout the forecast period.
Europe is expected to witness dynamic growth in the Tungsten market during the forecast period. Tungsten is used as a counterweight in logging equipment and in automotive part manufacturing, tooling, and die casting. The European automobile industry, being one of the most prominent globally, coupled with the growing demand for automobiles, is expected to significantly impart to the growth momentum. In 2021, over 9.9 million passenger cars were manufactured in the European Union, as per statistics released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. This is indicative of the sheer scope of materials used in the manufacturing of automobiles and parts, such as tungsten.
Asia-Pacific is expected to witness significant growth in the tungsten market during the forecast period. The abundance of natural resources, inexpensive labor, and liberal trade policies propel growth in the region. China is one of the largest exporters of tungsten in the global market; the country produced approximately 66000 metric tons of tungsten in 2021. Furthermore, rising purchasing power, social media influence, and marketing blitzkrieg are propelling the consumer durables industry – another application area for tungsten. The import of electronic goods in the year 2021 was pegged at around USD 56.73 billion in India, as per United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
The LAMEA region is expected to witness moderate growth in the global tungsten market during the forecast period. Brazil and Argentina's manufacturing sector are expected to be among the key growth drivers in Latin America. In the automotive sector, tungsten is used in dyes and coatings. Brazil's automobile production rose by around 11.6% in the year 2021, with 2.25 million units manufactured, which indicates the application scope for tungsten in the region. In the Middle East and Africa region, South Africa and Dubai have emerged as attractive tourist destinations. The thriving tourism sector is providing impetus to the construction sector in MEA, which is subsequently bolstering market growth as a significant amount of tungsten is used in drilling equipment and the procurement of light bulbs.
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