[Tungsten] The U.S. needs more of this critical metal — and China owns 80% of its supply chain – by Evelyn Cheng (CNBC – July 2, 2024)


BEIJING — China dominates the supply chain for many of the world’s critical minerals, but so far it’s held off on sweeping restrictions on at least one: tungsten.

The metal is nearly as hard as diamond and has a high energy density. That’s made tungsten an important material in weapons, autos, electric car batteries, semiconductors and industrial cutting machines. Chipmakers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Nvidia both use the metal. “I don’t expect any saber-rattling over tungsten,” said Lewis Black, CEO of Canada-based Almonty Industries, which is spending at least $75 million to reopen a tungsten mine in South Korea later this year.

“If you get too belligerent about diversification, [it becomes a situation that’s] biting the hand that feeds you,” he said, adding that “tungsten has always been a diplomatic metal.”

While the Biden administration raised tariffs on imports of tungsten in May, China this past weekend did not include the metal in new regulations for boosting its oversight of domestic rare earths production.

For the rest of this article: https://www.cnbc.com/2024/07/03/us-needs-more-tungsten-china-is-a-major-supplier-of-the-critical-metal.html