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Tungsten prices registered their third consecutive monthly increase at end-February, rising 8.3% to average US$9.475/lb, according to Metalprices.com.
Prices for pure tungsten have risen a total of US$1.475/lb (18.4%) since end-November, when the long-stagnant US$8.00/lb average price began its upward movement.
Prices were helped in February by The American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology's (AMT) report saying that US machine tool demand grew 43% in 2004 to US$3bn compared with $2.09bn in 2003.
Tungsten has applications in the mining, metalworking and construction industries and specialty steels. Tungsten metal wires, electrodes, and contacts are used in lighting, electronic, electrical, heating, and welding applications. It is also used to make heavy metal alloys for armaments.
Mexican mining-metals group Industrias Peñoles is a major producer of tungsten.