What is Vanadium?
Vanadium is a metal that is an essential component in the manufacture of high-strength steel, high-speed tool steel, and wear-resistant cast iron. Other important uses for vanadium include serving as a catalyst in chemical manufacturing, and as a component in the manufacturing of certain ceramic, glass and pigment products. As well, it is an essential element in vanadium redox-flow batteries, which are used for large-scale storage of electricity.
The principal producers of vanadium feedstock are mines in South Africa, China and Russia.
US production of vanadium is minimal to non-existent, and the US imports virtually all of its industrial vanadium requirements. Accordingly, the United States Geological Survey, at the direction of the US Department of Interior designated vanadium as one of thirty-five “Critical Minerals” that are essential to the vitality of the United States economy and our nation’s national security. With this designation the US government is developing a strategy to foster the domestic discovery, development and production of these “Critical Minerals”.
The well-respected mineral commodity market research firm Roskill Information Services expects a production supply deficit “for some time” due primarily to limited upside in global vanadium production from primary and secondary production sources and an increasing demand, due in large part to the introduction of new rebar regulations in China, designed to reduce the use of “inferior steel” in construction applications. Roskill projects total vanadium market growth of approximately 4 percent per year over the next five years. Overall, they project that a tight market situation for vanadium will exist for “several years”.