Vanadium Mining and Deposit Types

- August 23rd, 2018

Vanadium is a key component in steel, but it has other emerging applications as well. Learn about vanadium mining and the deposits this industrial metal comes from.

Investors interested in vanadium mining should have an understanding of the places this industrial metal is found and the main deposit types it comes from.

World resources of vanadium currently exceed 63 million tons, according to the latest data from the US Geological Survey, with the top producers being China, Russia and South Africa. China came in well ahead of the pack in 2017 with output of 43,000 MT.

Some may be surprised to learn that vanadium is a trace element — that means it is widely distributed in nature, with its average abundance in the continental crust coming in at about 60 parts per million. As a result, vanadium is usually produced as a by-product or co-product of other materials.

What Do You Know About The Industrial Metals Market?


Find market data and industry insights in your free report


The materials vanadium is found alongside vary widely. The metal can be found in deposits of phosphate rock, titaniferous magnetite and uraniferous sandstone and siltstone, where it makes up less than 2 percent of the host rock. Vanadium can also be found in bauxite and carboniferous materials like coal, crude oil, oil shale and tar sands.

All in all, because it of its wide distribution, world resources of vanadium “are understated and therefore not fully indicative of available supply,” the US Geological Survey says.

That said, there are four main types of mineral deposits where vanadium is present in economic concentrations: vanadiferous titanomagnetite (VTM) deposits, sandstone-hosted vanadium deposits, shale-hosted vanadium deposits and vanadate deposits. Read on for an overview of these four deposits.

1. Vanadium mining: VTM deposits

VTM deposits are found worldwide, and are the main source of vanadium, according to the US Geological Survey. The most economically significant VTM deposits are located in: South Africa’s Bushveld Complex; China’s Panzhihua layered intrusion; the Russia-based Kachkanar massif; Western Australia’s Windimurra Complex; and the Bell River and Lac Dore complexes, both in Quebec.

These vanadium deposits are hosted mainly within mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks, and are made up of magmatic accumulations of magnetite and ilmenite. For the most part they contain 0.2 to 1 percent V2O5, but some areas have over 1.5 percent V2O5. Areas like that include the Bushveld Complex.

The US Geological Survey pegs the Speewah deposit in Western Australia as the largest example of a VTM deposit. Owner King River Copper (ASX:KRC) says Speewah is one of the world’s largest undeveloped titanium-vanadium in magnetite deposits, with a measured resource of 322 million tonnes at 0.32 percent V2O5 and 2 percent titanium, and an indicated resource of 1,054 million tonnes at 0.33 percent V2O5 and 2 percent titanium.

Battery Metals in 2018


Click to download your free report


2. Vanadium mining: Sandstone-hosted vanadium deposits

As mentioned, vanadium is often produced as a by-product or co-product of other materials. One of those materials is uranium — the US Geological Survey notes that sandstone-hosted uranium deposits are found across the globe, with many having enrichments of vanadium.

Vanadium concentrations in sandstone-hosted vanadium (SSV) deposits generally stand at 1 percent V2O5 or higher, although some deposits have grades of over 2.5 percent V2O5. SSV deposits tend to be the highest-grade vanadium deposits, but most are small (less than 1 million MT of ore).

In the US, SSV deposits are the main source of vanadium, with deposits located on the Colorado Plateau being key. US-based SSV deposits can also be found in Eastern Utah, as well as Northern Arizona and New Mexico. Other SSV deposits globally include: the Bigrlyi deposit in Australia; deposits in the Tonco-Amblyo district in Argentina; and a deposit in the Karamurun district of Kazakhstan.

3. Vanadium mining: Shale-hosted vanadium deposits

Vanadium-rich metalliferous black shales are found mainly in late Proterozoic and Phanerozoic marine successions. Concentrations in these vanadiferous black shales regularly exceed 0.18 percent V2O5, and can be as high as 1.7 percent V2O5.

The US Geological Survey says that “well-characterized” vanadiferous black shales include: the Nevada-based Woodruff Formation; the Doushantuo Formation in China’s Hubei province; and portions of the Toolebuc Formation in Queensland, Australia.

However, the publication points out that while black shales “have long been recognized as potential sources of vanadium, they are not currently exploited.” It notes that development is underway at Prophecy Development’s (TSX:PCY) Gibellini vanadium prospect in the Woodruff Formation, and it will be the first primary shale-hosted producer of vanadium in the US if it moves into production.

What Do You Know About The Industrial Metals Market?


Find market data and industry insights in your free report


4. Vanadium mining: Vanadate deposits

The copperleadzinc vanadate ores in Northern Namibia were once considered among the largest vanadium deposits in the world, says the US Geological Survey, and other areas with vanadate deposits include Angola, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, vanadate deposits largely stopped supplying vanadium in 1978, when Berg Aukas, the last producing mine in Northern Namibia, closed.

Smaller deposits occur in places such as Mexico, Argentina and the US, but they “are unlikely to ever be economically significant resources.”

Vanadium mining: Other deposit types

The four deposit types listed above represent the main deposits where vanadium can be found (or was found previously) in economic concentrations. However, the US Geological Survey also outlines a couple of other deposit varieties where vanadium is present. Those include:

  • Other magmatic-hydrothermal vanadium resources — Some magmatic-hydrothermal niobium-titanium deposits contain elevated concentrations of vanadium, the publication says. Additionally, heavy mineral concentrate samples from iron ores in Sweden and Chile have reported high concentrations of vanadium, while some gold-quartz veins contain roscoelite and other vanadium-bearing minerals.
  • Fossil fuels — Vanadium correlates closely with organic carbon, and is enriched in many oil shales. For that reason, “minor amounts” of the metal are produced as a by-product of coal and tar sands.

Now that you know more about where vanadium mining happens, which deposits do you think have the most potential? Tell us in the comments.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2010.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

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

Battery Metals in 2018


Click to download your free report


Get the latest Vanadium Investing stock information

Get the latest information about companies associated with Vanadium Investing Delivered directly to your inbox.

Vanadium Investing

Select All
Select None

By selecting company or companies above, you are giving consent to receive email from those companies. And remember you can unsubscribe at any time

36 responses to “Vanadium Mining and Deposit Types

    1. Thank you for your comment and apologies for the oversight. We have removed the company from the article, and it has been updated as of Nov. 30.

    1. Thank you for your comment and apologies for the oversight. We have removed the company from the article, and it has been updated as of Nov. 30.

  1. You really ought to have your (technical) articles properly reviewed by (in this case) a geologist. The number of basic errors negates any value that this article may have had.

  2. You really ought to have your (technical) articles properly reviewed by (in this case) a geologist. The number of basic errors negates any value that this article may have had.

  3. Interesting article nut not complete. What about VanadiumCorp’s deposit in Quebec ?
    See Quebec Mining: Global Business Reports: Adriaan Bakker.

  4. Interesting article nut not complete. What about VanadiumCorp’s deposit in Quebec ?
    See Quebec Mining: Global Business Reports: Adriaan Bakker.

  5. Poor quality article. TNG is close to firing up one of the worlds largest vanadium deposits in the Northern Territory, permits and off takes in place, where is the mention?

  6. Poor quality article. TNG is close to firing up one of the worlds largest vanadium deposits in the Northern Territory, permits and off takes in place, where is the mention?

  7. AVL Ltd (in Australia) is doing some exciting things in this sector (its vanadium electrolyte pilot plant is up and running at a Perth University), please get in touch for your next article for an Aussie perspective

  8. AVL Ltd (in Australia) is doing some exciting things in this sector (its vanadium electrolyte pilot plant is up and running at a Perth University), please get in touch for your next article for an Aussie perspective

  9. If vanadium has good prospects, why did Vantra Vanadium close? Any chance of restarting operations of Vantra vanadium?

  10. If vanadium has good prospects, why did Vantra Vanadium close? Any chance of restarting operations of Vantra vanadium?

  11. I would like to contact vanadium-mining companies interested to invest in a new Fe-Ti-V mining project (titaniferous magnetite deposit) in Angola. Bushveld-type of deposit with substantial resources with high-grade TiO2 and V2O5.

  12. I would like to contact vanadium-mining companies interested to invest in a new Fe-Ti-V mining project (titaniferous magnetite deposit) in Angola. Bushveld-type of deposit with substantial resources with high-grade TiO2 and V2O5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *