Tungsten

Symbol: W
Category: Transition metal
Atomic number:  74
Atomic weight: 183.84

Physical Properties:

State:  solid
Melting Point: 3695 K (3422˚C)
Boiling Point: 5823 K (5550˚C)

Energy Properties:

Specific heat capacity: 0.13 J g-1K-1 Heat of fusion: 35.40 kJ mol-1
Heat of atomization:  860 kJ mol-1 Heat of vaporization: 824 kJ mol-1
1st ionization energy: 770 kJ mol-1 2nd ionization energy: 1700 kJ mol-1
Electron affinity: 78.6 kJ mol-1

Atomic properties:

Oxidation states: 6,5,4,3,2,1,0,-1,-2 (mildly acidic oxide) Electronegativity: 2.36 Pauling Scale
Atomic radius: 139 pm Covalent radius: 162±7 pm

What is Tungsten?

Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a lustrous, silvery-white metal that tarnishes in air. Tungsten has the highest melting point of all other non-alloyed metals; it also has the highest tensile strength. Pure tungsten is ductile; however, impure tungsten is often brittle and hard making it difficult to work with. Tungsten is one of the five major refractory metals, meaning that it is has a very high resistance to heat and water.

What is tungsten used for?

Due to its hardness, tungsten is used in of heavy metal alloys; it is also used in military applications, and can be found in penetrating projectiles. A significant amount of tungsten, approximately 18%, is used in making high speed steel (steel that can cut through materials at higher speeds than carbon steel). Tungsten carbide, due to its hardness, makes it a key component in tools. Tungsten’s high melting point lends its properties to the aerospace industry for high-temperature applications such as electrical, heating and welding applications. Tungsten is also used in jewelry due to its wear resistance.

Where is tungsten found?

Tungsten is not found free in nature. It is found mainly with wolframite and scheelite. Tungsten deposits are typically associated with granitic intrusions with medium to high grade metamorphic rocks, and are usually located within or near orogenic belts. Tungsten deposits are found all over the world with major tungsten deposits occurring Asia. Other significant locations of tungsten deposits are Europe, Russia, South America, Africa, and North America.

The largest known tungsten deposits can be found in Kazakhstan, China, Canada, UK, and Russia. China currently produces the majority of the world’s tungsten.

Tungsten producers?

Jiangxi Rare Earth Metals and Tungsten Group is the largest producer of tungsten in China.

North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. (CVE:NTC) is the largest tungsten producer in the Western world. The company operates two large mines in Canada, the Catung, located in the Northwest Territories. North American Tungsten is also working on developing their Mactung property in the Yukon.

Future producers of tungsten?

There are several tungsten exploration companies actively exploring for the outside of China

Avrupa Minerals Ltd. (CVE:AVU), formerly Evergreen Capital Ltd., is a junior exploration company based in Vancouver, Canada. The Company focuses on a variety of resources, particularly copper-zinc and tungsten deposits in Portugal, and silver-lead-zinc-gold deposits in Kosovo. The Company currently holds four licenses and one application in Portugal through its 90%-owned subsidiary MAEPA Lda. and two licenses in Kosovo through its 92.55-owned subsidiary Innomatik Exploration Kosovo (IEK).

Happy Creek Minerals Ltd. (CVE:HPY) is a junior polymetallic exploration company with properties in British Columbia, Canada. Happy Creek has acquired 541 square kilometers of mineral claims that are 100% owned. The Company has discovered new prospects containing copper, molybdenum, rhenium, tungsten, gold and silver. All of Happy Creek’s properties are in proximity to existing mines with access to excellent road networks, power, water, labor and other resource based infrastructure.

Largo Resources Ltd. (CVE:LGO) is a Canadian mineral resource exploration and development company focused on undervalued mining assets in the Americas. Largo’s two advanced stage projects are the Maracas vanadium deposit in Brazil and the Northern Dancer tungsten-molybdenum deposit in the Yukon.

Playfair Mining Ltd. (CVE:PLY) is an exploration company with a diverse portfolio of projects in Newfoundland & Labrador, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Playfair’s tungsten properties contain more than an estimated 5.5 million MTUs of WO3, in both combined 43-101 compliant and non-compliant resource categories.

Wolf Minerals (ASX:WLF) owns the Hemerdon Ball Project in the UK. The project is one of the largest tungsten and tin resources in the western world. Hemerdon is located in the South West of England. The development of this project moves Wolf towards becoming a world class tungsten and tin producer.

Woulfe Mining (CVE:WOF) is a Canadian-based exploration and mine development company, with the Sangdong tungsten project in South Korea. The Sangdong mine is historically one of the world’s largest tungsten producing mines. The property closed in 1992 after 40 years of operation.