Sumitomo Electric Carbide Inc, a 100% subsidiary of Sumitomo Electric and New York Tungsten LLC, a subsidiary of Buffalo Tungsten Inc, a tungsten powder producer in the United States, have established a joint venture company, Niagara Refining LLC, to produce tungsten trioxide (WO3) from raw ore as well as recycled material. Operations are set to begin in March 2014.

Tungsten is the primary raw material in carbide cutting tools and is categorized as a rare metal. In the past, Sumitomo Electric has mostly relied upon import for its tungsten supply. Since tungsten is found in only a limited number of countries, its supply is highly volatile.
Until now, ALMT Corp, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Electric, has been importing WO3 from China and other countries to produce tungsten carbide powder as a raw material for carbide tools. ALMT has also been engaged in tungsten scrap recycling at their Toyama plant since 2011. With the start of NIRE’s operations, Sumitomo Electric will be able to produce raw materials for tungsten using both methods: refining tungsten ore from tungsten mines and recycling scrap collected from  the market.
Sumitomo Electric plans to facilitate a stable supply of tungsten raw materials, using both WO3 production by NIRE and tungsten carbide powder production by ALMT. This will allow Sumitomo Electric to control the supply chain from raw materials all the way to the finished product.