Tungsten is known as "industrial tooth" or "industrial salt" because both of its melting point and specific gravity are much higher than other metals, while its hardness is only second to diamond. Currently, China is the world's largest tungsten ore resources owner and producer. In 2013, China’s tungsten ore reserves hit 1.9 million tons, accounting for 54.3% of the world; its tungsten concentrate (WO365%) output was 138,000 tons, equivalent to 84.5% of the global output.
China's tungsten ore resources concentrate in Jiangxi, Hunan, Henan, Fujian, Guangxi, Gansu and other regions. In 2013, Jiangxi and Hunan shared 66% of the total reserves together.
Tungsten and tungsten products are mainly used in the fields of tungsten steel, tungsten materials, tungsten chemicals and cemented carbide, wherein cemented carbide has the hugest demand for tungsten. The demand of cemented carbide for tungsten occupies 72% in the European market, 66% in the Japanese market and 54% in the Chinese market.
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As China controls the total tungsten resources, manages export quota, purchases and stores tungsten resources, as well as implements other tightening policies, the future tungsten ore supply in China, even in the world, will be tight, and the tungsten output growth will slow down. China's tungsten concentrate output may grow at 3.0%-6.0% in 2014-2017.
Hunan Nonferrous Metals, Xiamen Tungsten, Jiangxi Tungsten Industry, Zhangyuan Tungsten and Jiangxi Rare Earth Metals Tungsten act as the major tungsten producers in China. In recent years, they have extended to upstream and downstream tungsten market through acquisitions in order to enhance competitiveness.