There is a distinction between primary tungsten (ore concentrates of wolframite and scheelite) and secondary tungsten (different types of tungsten containing scrap).
China is the major producer of primary tungsten. The other principal producing countries are Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Thailand and several countries in Africa. Some mines which have closed in recent decades in Australia, South Korea and the USA are now considering re-opening. In addition, several new projects were started recently for exploration and exploitation worldwide, although the economic crisis towards the end of 2008 brought many to a stop.
Scrap recycling is an important factor in the world’s tungsten supply. It is estimated that today some 35% is recycled, and the tungsten processing industry is able to treat almost every kind of tungsten-containing scrap and waste to recover tungsten and, if present, other valuable constituents. Tungsten scrap, due to its high tungsten content in comparison to ore, is a valuable raw material.