Vanadium prices remain strong into 2019 as further new energy applications are developed

Date: Jan 16, 2019

Despite its enormous potential as a new energy mineral, steel remains the primary price driver for vanadium.

Vanadium prices remain strong into 2019 as further new energy applications are developed

China consumes about 92% of global vanadium production

Vanadium was the best performing battery mineral in the last 12 months, based on price increases, with most of global supply going to steel production.

Present vanadium supply is largely dominated by coke production in steel markets, with vanadium use in batteries growing from a 1% share in 2015 to 2% in 2017.

In that same period, however, vanadium consumption from steel also increased its share from 68% to 76%.

More than 90% of vanadium consumption goes towards steel where an addition of 0.2% vanadium increases steel strength up to 100% and reduces weight by up to 30%.

Rising vanadium prices over the last three years have been partially caused by lower global inventory levels as total supply remains under pressure, as well as growing demand in traditional and new markets.

Produced primarily as a by-product, vanadium demand in standard applications such as strengthening steel will continue to grow and will be diversified through potential energy storage applications.

The mineral itself is derived from vanadium-titanium-magnetite (VTM) deposits, shale-hosted deposits or as secondary products from fossil fuels and uranium.

Near-term growth will be driven by steel production in developing countries as well as higher standards in rebar which will require more vanadium.

CSA Global principal consultant Tony Donaghy said vanadium consumption still had substantial room to grow in Asian steel markets due to further improvements in grade and purity.

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