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Tungsten Concentrates

Tungsten concentrates derive from the mining of tungsten ore. Many locations throughout the world have tungsten ore reserves. There are mines on every continent but Antarctica.

Tungsten ore comes in several forms. See our previous post to learn about the main types. In underground mines, explosives dislodge material from the walls or floor of the mine in small areas. Open pit mines often use larger blasts before scooping up the ore. Underground mines usually have 1% or more tungsten oxide content. Open pit mines can have lower grades.

Producing Tungsten Concentrates

Cone crushers and ball mills reduce the size of the ore to under 2mm in size. Water carries the ore over shaker tables to concentrate it. It works like panning for gold in a river. The ore particles with lower density flow off as tailings while the higher density tungsten concentrate remains.

In small artisinal mines they do not have this equipment. The miners extract ore directly from rich veins. The weight of a fixed volume of the ore finds the density and value of the material. This material often needs more crushing. It needs to be smaller to have enough surface area for chemical processing.

Chemical Analysis

A lab will find the amount of tungsten oxide in the tungsten concentrates. First grade material will have at least 65% tungsten oxide. Some impurities can be difficult to remove or are costly to dispose of. High levels of things like arsenic or uranium are not desireable. A full assay will help determine the value of the ore.

Purchasing Specifications

Buffalo Tungsten purchases tungsten concentrates regularly. We have recently updated our purchasing specifications. This shows the grade of material that we are looking to buy. We process the material at Niagara Refining. It is in our factory, so it gives us a secure source of material.

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Tungsten Scrap Recycling

Buffalo Tungsten purchases several types of pure tungsten scrap for recycling. We feel that it is a win-win-win proposition.

It is a way for those who produce tungsten scrap to receive value for materials that might otherwise go to waste. Reclaiming these valuable materials is a benefit to our company as a source of raw material. Recycling also reduces impact on our environment. It lowers the amount of tungsten ore the needs to be mined every year to meet the global demand for tungsten products.

Types of Tungsten Scrap

Buffalo Tungsten does not recycle tungsten carbide (WC) products. However, many other companies are able to provide this service for tungsten carbide materials. As a result, we focus on scrap from parts made with pure tungsten powder or tungsten alloys.

One of the most common forms of material that Buffalo Tungsten recycles are machining or turning chips of tungsten alloys. The chips come from the machining of heavy metal parts.

Tungsten powder scrap and floor sweepings are also materials we can use. If you have spills or waste from your process, we can purchase these powders.

In addition, we take some types of scrap tungsten powder that has been compounded with plastic or rubber. Certain types of tungsten based slurries will work in our recycling processes as well.


The nature of each stream of scrap materials is different. We need to analyze your specific scrap products to determine if they are a fit for our recycling processes. If you send an assay or a small sample we can determine if we are able to purchase your waste materials.

Contact us to see how we can help you get value for your pure tungsten powder scrap. Send us photos of your waste from tungsten alloy parts to see if we can process it. We would be happy to assist you in seeing that you are able to recycle as much material as possible.

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Merry Christmas

We would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all who have been a part of our success during this difficult year. Tungsten metal powder is used in some of the products that may be under your Christmas trees. It is possible that the electronics such as cell phones, computers and televisions have some tungsten in them. You might not be able to see it from the outside, but it is there, out of the spotlight, helping your devices to function.

The Christmas Truce during World War I is a story that reminds us that we can set aside our differences and come together in peace.

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Tungsten Matrix Powder for Diamond Bits

Tungsten and tungsten carbide powder are important in producing diamond bits and tools. Fragments of diamond are set in a matrix of various types of tungsten powder and other materials.

Diamond is one of the few materials harder than tungsten carbide. This makes it great for drilling and cutting hard materials, but even diamond bits get dull and wear out. Diamond is expensive, so it's cutting capability must be optimized.

The goal for tool manufacturers is to have the bit wear evenly so that the diamonds fall out right when the get dull and new, sharp diamonds will be ready to cut somewhere else in the bit. If the diamond falls out too soon it is costly. If it remains in too long, the diamond bits will not cut efficiently.

That is why the right mix of tungsten, tungsten carbide and other materials in the matrix holding the diamonds is so important. They need to wear at the same rate that the diamond dulls to provide the best value.

Example of Diamond Bits

There are several types of bits that use diamond as the cutting surface. One common type takes core samples. A diamond core bit is hollow in the middle to remove a core of rock or concrete in the shape of a cylinder.

Engineers might use core samples to evaluate the strength of the foundation of a building. Environmental studies might use diamond bits to look for evidence of past spills or leaks. Geologists use them to determine what types of rock is in the ground for mining or oil and gas exploration.

Buffalo Tungsten produces engineered tungsten matrix powders that work well in diamond bits. We understand that the properties of our powders are important to the finished diamond bits being produced. Our tight quality control assures that our customers get tungsten powder materials that will work well in matrix applications.

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Happy Thanksgiving

We wish a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday to our employees, customers and suppliers in the United States. On the fourth Thursday in November we take time out to offer thanks for the blessings in our lives. This has been a difficult year for many, but we have a lot to be grateful for.

To our customers and suppliers in other countries, we express our gratitude to you as well. You may not be joining in our celebrations, but you are a big part of our reason to celebrate!

Thankful for our Employees

We are thankful for our employees who operate and maitain our equipment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our plant runs 365 days a year. The furnaces do not cool down on holidays, so we will have people here on Thanksgiving. Instead of eating turkey at home with their families they will be at our factory producing tungsten powder. It is important to have reliable people on our team. They make sure that the materials we ship meet the standards of our customers. If it is 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., the job needs to be done correctly. They do a wonderful job and are greatly appreciated!

Thanks to our Customers

At Buffalo Tungsten we also express thanks to our customers. We know that you have a choice in tungsten suppliers, and we are grateful for your orders! This year has been difficult one for many industries. We are grateful that our customers have been able to continue manufacturing their products during a global pandemic. We know that your success is our success, and we would not be in business without you. As we put 2020 behind us, we look forward to serving your needs even better in the new year. We have several projects underway that will improve the quality of our tungsten powder products.

Grateful for our Suppliers

Finally, we offer thanks to our suppliers. From tungsten raw materials to parts for our equipment, we rely on you to keep us going. Without tungsten concentrates and intermediate tungsten products we would have nothing to run through our furnaces. Without things like industrial gases, maintenance parts, and packaging materials we would not be able to continue. Your high quality products being delivered on time allow us to provide what our customers need when they need it.

It takes many people to produce tungsten powder for the large variety of products produced by our customers. Each of our employees, customers and suppliers play a critical role in the process. At this time of Thanksgiving, we wish to take a moment to thank you for the part you play in the Buffalo Tungsten story.

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High Density Tungsten Powder

When we have a new driver from UPS on our route, the weight of a small pail of high density tungsten powder often surprises them. You see their arm drop as they pull it off the table for the first time. They prepare themselves for the extra effort and are ready for the second pail.

Tungsten has a high density. Many products are made with tungsten because of this property. If tungsten already has a high density, why does Buffalo Tungsten manufacture a special line of high density tungsten powder?

Our standard fine and coarse tungsten powders have apparent densities from 20-120 g/in3. This is fine for most products. However, extra process steps can push the density over 130 g/in3. As a result, the powder can reach a density as high as 165 g/in3.

Uses for High Density Powder

There are several properties that make tungsten a critical element. For instance, the high mechanical strength of tungsten is important in many products. In addition, the high melting point makes it attractive for other uses.

The products that rely on the density of tungsten often desire the highest density possible. For example, high density tungsten powder is great for radiation shielding. It can also focus the mass and increase weight in some sporting goods and other products.

Improving Density

Although all tungsten powder has a high density, Buffalo Tungsten uses production methods to improve it. We produce our high density tungsten powder to meet the market demand for this important specification. We will continue to test new ways to push the limits to further improve the density of our powder.

As we improve the density in our powders, new markets will emerge. With higher densities there will be new products in additive manufacturing, for instance. As high density tungsten powder goes into these and other products, the tungsten market continue to grow.

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5N Tungsten Powder

Buffalo Tungsten produces ultra high purity tungsten powder. Our typical powders have a purity of 99.95%. The ultra high purity powders we manufacture are 99.999%, or five nines pure. 5N tungsten powder is another way to refer to this level of purity.

It requires high garde raw material to produce 5N tungsten powder. We source high quality tungsten ores and concentrates as the basis for our ultra high purity materials. We test incoming concentrates to assure that they meet our stringent quality standards. Our supply from ore bodies that are not of a sufficient grade for our five nines tungsten powder go into other products.

Manufacturing Ultra High Purity Tungsten Powder

It takes extra processing of the concentrates to achieve the high level of purity for the APT and tungsten oxide necessary for 5N tungsten powder. The process equipment that we use contains specialized materials to prevent contamination. When compared with typical APT or oxide production there are several additional steps in the process to remove impurities. This extra work is important because without a high quality intermediate material it would be impossible to achieve consistent five nine results in our finished product.

The typical reduction process of the tungsten powder is not good enough to make ultra pure tunsgten powder. Special equipment assures that the material does not pick up impurities in the reduction process. The conditions of the atmosphere and other factors must be under careful control to make material that is 99.999% pure. Storage containers for the powders also protect the material from contamination.

Improved Quality and Increased Capacity

Buffalo Tungsten has added new equipment this year to improve the quality of our 5N tungsten powder. This new equipment allows us to increase our production capacity of five nines powder as well. If you need ultra high purity powders for sputtering targets, electrodes or other applications, contact Buffalo Tungsten to see how we can help to meet your needs.

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Executive Order

On Wednesday, September 30, 2020 US President Trump signed an Executive Order on Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain from Reliance on Critical Minerals from Foreign Adversaries. This intends to make America less reliant on foreign sources of important minerals.

This is of particular interest to Buffalo Tungsten as a producer of tungsten powder based in the United States. A diverse and stable supply of raw materials is important to our company. Buffalo Tungsten supplies customers in many countries, but we need access to raw materials in America in order to produce our products.

Rare earth metals receive specific mention in the executive order. It applies to other minerals on the Department of Interior's list of critical minerals produced in May 2018. It also broadly applies to any minerals necessary to protect and preserve the economy and defense of the United States.

We wrote about tungsten as a strategic mineral a few months back. It is good to see action to encourage additional sources of these minerals. Although the executive order does not contain plans or programs, recognizing the problem is an important step in resolving it.

Executive Order Supports Mining and Mineral Processing

President Trump indicates that "the United States must broadly enhance its mining and processing capacity." He also mentions that "by expanding and strengthening domestic mining and processing capacity today, we guard against the possibility of supply chain disruptions." In addition to the strategic importance the President notes that "mining and mineral processing provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans."

It will be interesting to see what will be done following the executive order to encourage these objectives. The global nature of the minerals market provides a need for greater efficiency if domestic production is to be competitive. American companies must apply better technology and innovation to the mining industry in order to lead the way. I look forward to the day when our supply chain starts and ends on American soil.

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Assistance for Local Food Pantries

Buffalo Tungsten is assisting with the delivery of food commodities to eight local food pantries. We heard about the project from a friend and wanted to help. Twenty four pallets of food arrived at our loading dock this morning from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The food will be going to small community food pantries across Western New York from Medina to Gowanda.

Problem Solved

The church had a problem because of the scale of the donation. They needed a loading dock and forklift to unload the truck. Since the church does not have a loading dock in the area we offered to unload the truck at our facility. It is something small and simple for us to do, but makes a big difference for those coordinating the project.

The larger food pantries in the area have forklifts and pallet jacks, but the smaller local food pantries do not. They are short on resources and sometimes have just a single person to staff them. These donations will help people in the smaller towns and villages in the area that do not have easy access to the resources in larger communities.

The Food Commodities

The smaller local food pantries do not frequently receive donations on this scale. Our employees are helping to sort and palletize 136 cases of chili con carne, 204 cases of green beans, 210 cases of mashed potatoes, 324 cases of spaghetti sauce, 204 cases of salsa, 280 cases of macaroni and 288 cases of spaghetti for delivery amongst the eight local food pantries.

Helping and serving others in our community is a core value of our company. We believe that doing good provides a great return for our business. It does not relate to selling tungsten powder, but community service always provides indirect compensation that brings greater meaning to life.

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American Spirit

At Buffalo Tungsten, we take pride in producing American made products because we're proud to be Americans. The American Spirit is alive and well at our company.

Our flag flew at half mast today in remembrance of 9/11. Regardless of religious or political beliefs, it was a time that taught us how to come together as one nation, under God.

We remember 9/11 in the hope that we can retain that American Spirit. We hope to remember across all people and cultures that what unites us is greater than that which divides us. What we have in common will always be greater than our differences.

Always Remember

When that flag raises again tomorrow, we must act with a remembrance of the lessons we learned in September 2001. If we do so, the hope of peace and healing in our nation and across the world can become a reality.

The American Spirit still creates a land of opportunity. The freedoms anjoyed here allowed our factory to come into existence. You can read a little more about our history and rise from humble beginnings.

For over 30 years we have been making tungsten powder. We will never take for granted the great opportunities that we have from living in a free land.

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