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WOLFRAMITE

  • Wolframite
  • Mines Producing Wolframite

Wolframite (Tungsten Trioxide) is associated with quartz, bismuth, scheelite, cassiterite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite, galena and pyrite. It is an important tungsten ore mineral with China having 60 percent of the world's resource.


The name 'wolframite' comes from the German words 'wolf rahm' meaning 'wolf cream.' It is the reason the chemical symbol 'W' is used for the tungsten chemical element. Wolramite is the main source of the metal tungsten which is a dense and strong material that has a very high melting temperature, a feature that has made it useful for use as an armour piercing ammunition as well as electric filaments. Hard tungsten is widely used for machining tools. For these reasons wolframite mines were considered as strategic assets during the Second World War.


Wolframite is subjected to crushing and cleaning before being treated with alkalis to have it form tungsten trioxide (WO3). The tungsten trioxide is then heated with either hydrogen gas or carbon to form either carbon dioxide and tungsten metal or water vapour and tungsten metal.


Pure tungsten is a whitish or light grey metal that is able to be cut with a hacksaw because of its relative softness, it is also sufficiently ductile to be drawn into wire or made into various shapes.


Tungsten steel is extremely tough and it has a property that allows it to retain its temper when very hot, it is because of this that it is used in the manufacturing of high speed tools, for the same reason it is useful as an alternative to platinum in the making of contact points. Sodium tungstate is used as a mordant in the dyeing industry, wood impregnated with sodium tungstate makes it fireproof and it also fireproofs cloth and clothing.


At December 2011, there was a known resource of 376 kilotonnes of tungsten bearing ore in Australia. These deposits are at Bold Head and Dolphin on King Island off the coast of Tasmania as well as Mount Lindsay and Kara on the Tasmanian mainland. In Queensland there are wolframite deposits at O'Callaghans and Watershed. In Western Australia there are further deposits of wolframite at Mount Mulgine and Big Hill and at Molyhil in the Northern Territory. Most tungsten bearing ore in Australia is located in Western Australia that accounts for over 60 percent, half of this amount is to be found at the O'Callaghans deposit. Tasmania holds 22 percent and Queensland 14 percent of the remaining deposits.


In 2011 there were 27 tonnes of top grade scheelite concentrate, averaging 72 percent of tungsten trioxide, produced at the Kara scheelite mine at Hampshire, near Burnie in Tasmania, that delivered 15.4 tonnes of contained tungsten. In 2012 the first production of wolframite concentrate began at both the Mount Carbine and Wolfram Camp mines in north Queensland.


In contrast to many other minerals, the value of tungsten rose dramatically after the Global Financial Crisis hit the world mineral markets in 2008, more than doubling its 2008 price by 2011 The price increase reflecting the extra demand resulting from a tightening of supply in China during that period. The price remains above long term average levels.
 

Australian Mines that produce Wolframite

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Bis Industries requires an Operator Maintainer to join our operations at Karara, this is offered FIFO on 2:1 roster from Perth, come join the team!

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Bis Industries is seeking MC Drivers commencing at Gunnedah on a Monday to Friday roster and every other Saturday as required.

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