Battery Metals

vanadium mining

China was the top vanadium producer in 2019 by a long shot, but what are the other top vanadium-producing countries?

Global vanadium-producing countries have benefited from infrastructure spending in China in recent years, and that continued in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The silvery-gray metal is essential in various metal alloys, but is mainly used to make ferrovanadium, an alloy of iron and vanadium metal that is used in steel production.

Heading into 2021, the global economic recovery that could follow on the heels of COVID-19 vaccination programs may provide further support to vanadium demand and vanadium prices.

Interest in vanadium redox batteries for large-scale stationary energy storage is also contributing to a positive outlook for vanadium as the metal is a good conductor of electricity.

On the supply side, world vanadium production has fallen in recent years. Totalling 80,000 metric tons (MT) in 2017, mined production of the metal dropped to 71,200 MT in 2018 with a slight uptick to 73,000 MT in 2019, as per the most recent data from the US Geological Survey.

Four countries contribute to the vast majority of that output. Below is a brief overview of the world’s top vanadium-producing countries.

1. China

Mine production: 40,000 MT

China was the world’s top vanadium-producing country in 2019 with output of 40,000 MT. That’s on par with the previous year’s vanadium production level.

The Asian nation far outpaces all other countries in terms of vanadium-mining output. As mentioned, vanadium is mainly used in the production of steel. Although Chinese steel output has declined in recent years, the country still leads the world in vanadium consumption.

2. Russia

Mine production: 18,000 MT

Second on the list is Russia, whose vanadium ore output totalled 18,000 MT in 2019, the same as its 2018 output. Russia’s vanadium reserves are the second largest in the world at 5,000 MT. EVRAZ KGOK, part of EVRAZ (LSE:EVR), is a major mining company in Russia that produces vanadium.

Little other information is available about vanadium mining in Russia.

3. South Africa

Mine production: 8,000 MT

Vanadium-mining output in South Africa had been trending upward in recent years, with output reaching 13,000 MT of the metal in 2017. But in 2018, the vanadium-producing country’s output dropped to 7,700 MT, with a slight uptick to 8,000 MT in 2019.

Most of South Africa’s contributions to the vanadium market consist of primary production from Bushveld Minerals (LSE:BMN) and Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF). Bushveld Minerals’ vanadium-mining division is comprised of three assets in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

4. Brazil

Mine production: 7,000 MT

Last is Brazil, a vanadium-producing country whose ouput ramped up to 8,400 MT in 2017 only to fall steeply to 5,500 MT in the next year. In 2019, Brazil’s vanadium ore output rose slightly to 7,000 MT.

Brazil’s production is largely thanks to Largo Resources (TSX:LGO,OTCQX:LGORF), which describes itself as the only pure-play vanadium producer. The company’s Maracas Menchen vanadium project is the highest-grade vanadium mine in the world.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


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