Wolframite, (Fe,Mn)WO4, is an iron manganese tungstate mineral that is the intermediate between ferberite (Fe2+ rich) and hübnerite (Mn2+ rich). Along with scheelite, the wolframite series are the most important tungsten ore minerals. Wolframite is found in quartz veins and pegmatites associated with granitic intrusives. Associated minerals include cassiterite, scheelite, bismuth, quartz, pyrite, galena, sphalerite, and arsenopyrite.
This mineral was historically found in Europe in Bohemia, Saxony, and Cornwall. China reportedly has the world’s largest supply of tungsten ore with about 60%. Other producers are Canada, Portugal, Russia, Australia, Thailand, South Korea, Rwanda, Bolivia, the United States, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and recently found in Nigeria.
Extraction of tungsten from wolframite ore.
Wolframite is highly valued as the main source of the metal tungsten, a strong and quite dense material with a high melting temperature used for electric filaments and armor-piercing ammunition, as well as hard tungsten carbide machine tools. During World War II, wolframite mines were a strategic asset, due to its use in munitions and tools.