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How is Tungsten Extracted – An Overview

How is Tungsten Extracted

Tungsten is a rare metal that is most commonly used in industrial manufacturing. It is extracted from various ores, such as wolframite and scheelite. This blog post will explore the different tungsten extraction methods to understand better how this valuable material is obtained.

Open-Pit Mining

Open-pit mining is one of the most common methods for extracting tungsten ore. This method involves digging large holes in the ground to reach a deposit of tungsten ore. The amount of ore that can be removed depends on the size and quality of the deposit, as well as other factors like location and access to equipment. This method has been used in many parts of the world, including China, Russia, Canada, and Brazil.

Underground Mining

Underground mining is a more expensive and labour-intensive process than open-pit mining. It involves drilling down into the earth to reach a deposit of tungsten ore deep underground. This method requires specialized equipment and expertise to ensure safety during extraction and minimize disruption to ecosystems or communities living near mine sites. Underground mining is often used when open-pit mining isn’t feasible due to environmental factors or lack of access to suitable land for excavation.

Heap Leaching

Heap leaching is another popular method for extracting tungsten ore which uses liquids like cyanide or nitric acid instead of physical excavation techniques. The ore is placed in heaps on impermeable pads, which allow liquids to flow through them and dissolve minerals such as tungsten from the ore into solution. The liquid containing dissolved minerals can then be collected and processed further for extraction. Heap leaching is an effective way of extracting minerals from low-grade ores. Still, it does pose potential hazards if not managed properly due to its use of toxic chemicals like cyanide or nitric acid.


Tungsten extraction can be done using various methods depending on cost, safety, geography, access to equipment, etc. Open-pit mining is one common technique, but it may only sometimes be feasible due to environmental issues or lack of available land for excavation. Underground mining requires specialized equipment and expertise, but it can produce higher-quality ores with less disruption than open-pit operations. Heap leaching requires fewer personnel but relies on toxic chemicals, which can pose significant risks if not managed carefully; however, it can still be an effective way to extract minerals from low-grade ores without requiring physical excavation techniques. Understanding these varying tungsten extraction methods can help us make informed decisions about how best to obtain this valuable material while minimizing any potential damage or harm caused along the way! Intended Audience: Industrial manufacturers, miners/mineralogists

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