Sumitomo Electric industries, Ltd. and New York Tungsten L.L.C., a subsidiary of Buffalo Tungsten Inc. (BTI), a tungsten powder producer in the United States, have established a joint venture company, Niagara Refining LLC (NIRE) to produce tungsten trioxide (WO3), an intermediate material, from raw ore as well as scrap recycled material. Operations are set to begin in March 2014.
Tungsten, the primary raw material in carbide cutting tools, is found in only a limited number of countries, mainly in China; it is a rare metal, the supply of which is highly volatile, although Sumitomo Electric has been mostly reliant on imported supplies.
In the past, A.L.M.T Corp., a subsidiary of Sumitomo Electric, has imported tungsten trioxide (WO3) from China and other countries to produce tungsten carbide (WC) powder as a raw material for carbide tools.
With the start of NIRE's operations, Sumitomo Electric will be able to produce tungsten trioxide (WO3) within the Group by using both sources?refined ore from mines and recycled scrap from the market?instead of purchasing it from abroad.
With WO3 material produced by NIRE and WC powder produced by A.L.M.T., Sumitomo Electric will be able to control the whole supply chain from raw material to finished product, which will promote production optimization and strengthen its competitive edge through cooperation within the Group.