ARPN’s Tungsten Month is over, but we will make an exception in the case for investment legend Warren Buffett. It seems one of his investment arms is taking a position in the re-commissioned tungsten mine in the United Kingdom, last operated as part of the industrial war effort during World War II. As American Resource followers know, China is the leading supplier of imported tungsten to the U.S., a dependency eased only by our recycling of tungsten scrap.
As the U.S. Geological Survey notes:
“World tungsten supply is dominated by Chinese production and exports. China’s government regulates its tungsten industry by limiting the number of exploration, mining, and export licenses; limiting or forbidding foreign investment; imposing constraints on mining and processing; establishing quotas on production and exports; adjusting export quotas to favor value-added downstream materials and products; and imposing export taxes on tungsten materials.”
Tungsten is one of the targets in the new WTO action brought by the U.S., European Union and Japan against China’s resource export policies. If the WTO rules against China, the country may be compelled to export more product to a tungsten-hungry world. But in the meanwhile, Warren Buffett seems to think it makes sense to develop new sources of supply — even if in this instance the source is an old mine, brought back into production. Maybe U.S. policy-makers should employ the strategy that works for so many investors, and ask: What Would Warren Do?