Currently the market for cemented tungsten carbide is $27.5 trillion. Most of the cemented tungsten carbide market today uses a percentage of cobalt to permit the fine tungsten carbide particles to bind together when consolidated.Generally the amount of cobalt admixed is less than 10% of the tungsten carbide weight. Unfortunately cobalt is becoming a problem for many reasons.
The major reason is emerging competition from the battery and the automotive markets.The use of cobalt for these applications for components is increasing at a rapid rate.Currently it is estimated that 49 percent of the cobalt produced will be targeted toward this market.
Supply today mostly comes from the Republic of Congo, in Africa.The problem now becomes that we are dealing with an unstable government that uses children to mine the cobalt.without protective equipment. In addition, the EPA has declared cobalt to be carcinogenic. These problems have led to a deficit of cobalt for this year to be 3,205 tonnes, increasing to 5,340 tonnes by next year.As a result, the price of cobalt , in the past eighteen months, has increased from $10 per pound to $27.78 per pound.
The Army, facing these conditions regarding armaments, has developed a new patented binder system that is based on iron, thereby eliminating the use of cobalt from their applications. MagnaTech too has a concept for a new binder system, based on iron as the base, but using a different concept. We are seeking a partner to develop this system. If you are affiliated with the cemented carbide market, you are faced with the same problem. If interested in our system please contact us and we will be delighted to discuss our concept further.