New framework agreement for HC Starck Tungsten

News Analysis




New framework agreement for HC Starck Tungsten

Masan High-Tech Materials announced the signing of a framework agreement with Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) which will see MMC acquire full ownership of HC Starck Tungsten. 

Masan High-Tech Materials (MHT) was established in 2010 and focuses on mining and resource extraction activities in Vietnam. The company's tungsten operations consist of the Nui Phao Mine, as well as processing and refining at the Masan Tungsten Plant in Thai Nguyen. In addition to its local tungsten operations, MHT owns HC Starck Tungsten Powders, which operates three processing plants located in Germany, Canada, and China, and has an ownership stake in Nyobolt, a battery technology company based in the United Kingdom.  

In 2020, MHT acquired HC Starck Tungsten Powders from HC Starck. The acquisition aimed to introduce tungsten recycling technologies to Vietnam and establish a sustainable tungsten circularity program. Also in 2020, MHT formed a partnership with Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC), a manufacturing company based in Japan. Through its subsidiary Japan New Metals, MMC produces tungsten- and molybdenum-based powders at its Akita Plant and Osaka Plant in Japan. As part of the partnership, MHT supplied Japan New Metals with intermediate tungsten products. 

Since acquiring HC Starck Tungsten Powders, MHT has been unable to implement its tungsten recycling strategy due to regulatory constraints limiting the volume of tungsten scrap MHT is allowed to import. Consequently, this led to MHT deciding to sell HC Starck Tungsten Powders. Following this decision, MHT announced that it has entered into a framework agreement with Mitsubishi Materials Corporation for the sale of HC Starck Tungsten Powders. 

Under the agreement, MMC will acquire 100% ownership of HC Starck Tungsten, including its three tungsten processing plants. However, MHT will retain ownership of Nyobolt, a UK-based battery research company owned by HC Starck Tungsten. Additionally, MHT is expected to retain potential profits from future commercial black mass recycling technology developed by HC Starck Tungsten.  

The potential acquisition will see MMC strengthen its position in the mid- and down-stream value chain as well as securing a sustainable closed-loop of tungsten supply through recycling. In addition, this will bolster MMC’s market share as it will gain access to tungsten markets in Europe, North America, and China.