The global tungsten market is poised for significant expansion, according to a comprehensive report released recently by Research and Markets. The report forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% between 2022 and 2030, raising the market size from 119.2 thousand metric tons in 2022 to an estimated 170.8 thousand metric tons by 2030.
The newly published Tungsten: Global Strategic Business Report demonstrates an expanding market that offers multiple opportunities across diverse industrial applications. These include hardmetals/cement carbides, steels, superalloys, wear-resistant alloys, and mill products. Among these, the hardmetals/cement carbides segment leads the race with an expected CAGR of 4.8%, projected to reach 103,00 metric tons (mt) by the end of the decade.
The USA tungsten market registers a volume of 12,600 metric tons for 2022, but the spotlight is undeniably on China. As the world’s second-largest economy, China is predicted to command an astonishing 103,400 metric tons by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 5.4%. Other markets demonstrating promising trends include Japan, Canada, and Germany.
External Forces and Uncertainties
Several external elements contribute to the market's dynamics. The repercussions of COVID-19 and the Ukraine-Russia conflict have led to disruptions, posing challenges for an otherwise burgeoning market. Yet, the industry is witnessing signs of relief, as suppliers concentrate on first-use sectors and new markets. In this context, the push for vertical integration stands as a prominent strategy, particularly as Chinese vendors continue to dominate the processed tungsten market.
Sustainable Sourcing and Competitive Landscape
Amidst this growth, supply concerns have escalated, highlighting the need for alternative tungsten production avenues. In response, several recognised global mining and metal companies are venturing into tungsten mining, aiming to break the Chinese stranglehold. Newer markets, like Vietnam, are emerging as stable supply sources, fuelling market optimism.
Application Analysis and Future Outlook
The market report acknowledges tungsten’s key role in sectors ranging from drilling, boring, and cutting equipment to high-demand industries like automotive and aerospace. Despite the pandemic’s impact on air travel and automotive production, these industries are projected to rebound, providing lucrative opportunities for tungsten components.
Recycling and Sustainability
Notably, the industry is placing an increasing emphasis on tungsten scrap recycling. Figures indicate a growth in recycled tungsten, thus broadening the market and contributing to its sustainability goals. There is also an urgent need to develop sustainable processes for extracting tungsten from wolframite and other ore minerals.
Technological Innovations and Niche Markets
Advancements in additive manufacturing are offering novel opportunities for tungsten, especially in the healthcare sector. The material's unique attributes make it highly relevant for prototyping and other specialised applications, including high-temperature alloys and 3D printing techniques.
While the global tungsten market contends with uncertainties and external disruptions, the report confirms that its fundamentals remain strong, supported by its diversified applications and promising geographical markets. Companies are focusing on sustainable sourcing and tapping into new sectors, ensuring that tungsten continues to enjoy its status as an indispensable material across multiple industries. As suppliers look to navigate these complex dynamics, the market appears resilient and ripe for investment.