If you have even one bulb in your house, enabling you to read after dark, you should consider thanking the top 10 tungsten producing countries in the world. Tungsten is an extremely important element, and has a whole host of properties which allow for it to be used in various different applications (see 11 largest copper producing countries).
So what exactly are the properties that make tungsten so essential? Tungsten is one of the strongest elements in the world, with an extremely high density and an unmatched melting point, which basically makes it a herculean level task to melt it. Not only that, it is also quite resistant to corrosion as well. Because of these significant properties, tungsten is often used as a compound called tungsten carbide, where it is used to make drill bits and even to harden blades of saws.
Meanwhile, the strength of tungsten has lent itself to military applications as well. The military has developed bullets made from tungsten, which due to their strength and density are designed to breach enemy defenses as a substitute for explosives.
In the United States, tungsten has no records of domestic production since at least 2015, due to lack of reserves. However, tungsten because of its aforementioned properties is still highly in demand in the country, and is used for various applications such as production of wear resistant application in several industries including the construction industry, mining, and oil and gas drilling industries. The consumption of tungsten in the US alone in 2019 was estimated to be worth approximately $700 million. Since it does not produce any tungsten, the US relies on imports to meet its requirements, with the biggest source of imports being China, followed by Bolivia, Germany and Spain.
Global reserves of tungsten are quite widespread geographically, which China having the greatest reserves, while Canada, Russia and Kazakhstan also boast significant tungsten deposits. Surprisingly, only Russia makes the list from these 3 countries.
On a global scale, while the production of tungsten increased, this was only due to China increasing its own production capacity, even though the government has imposed limits on the production. Outside China, there was actually a decline in tungsten production, mainly driven by the United Kingdom, after its only mine collapsed when the owner entered liquidation.
To determine the top tungsten producing countries, we took a look at the Mineral Commodities Summaries 2020, and noted the production levels of each country in both 2018 and 2019, which formed the basis for our rankings. So let’s take a look at the 10 countries responsible for around 98% of the total global production, starting with number 10: