China was the top vanadium producer in 2017 by a long shot, but what are the other top vanadium-producing countries?
The vanadium market has been fairly quiet in recent years, but in 2017 the market picked up, with prices reaching a four-year high in May of that year.
The silvery-grey metal is mainly used to make ferrovanadium, an alloy of iron and vanadium that is used in the production of steel and other alloys. China is the leading producer of ferrovanadium, but many Chinese manufacturers have been shut down recently due to increased environmental requirements.
These shutdowns helped spark last year’s price increase, although interest in vanadium redox batteries also helped the industry receive some buzz.
On the supply side, world vanadium production totaled 80,000 MT last year, up slightly from 79,000 MT in 2016, as per the most recent data from the US Geological Survey. Only four countries contributed to that output, and below is a brief overview of all of those producers.
Mine production: 43,000 MT
China was the world’s top vanadium producer in 2017 with output of 43,000 MT. That’s down from the 45,000 MT it put out the previous year.
The Asian nation far outpaces all other countries in terms of vanadium production, and is also a large consumer of the metal. As mentioned, the metal is largely used in the production of steel. Although Chinese steel output has declined in recent years, the country remains a major vanadium consumer.
Mine production: 16,000 MT
Second on the list is Russia, whose vanadium production totaled 16,000 MT in 2017, the same as its 2016 output. Russia’s vanadium reserves are the second largest in the world at 5,000 MT. Little other information is available about vanadium mining in Russia.
3. South Africa
Mine production: 13,000 MT
Vanadium output in South Africa has been on a upward trend in recent years. In 2017, the country put out 13,000 MT of the metal, up from 10,000 MT in 2016. The country’s Evraz Highveld vanadium and iron mine shut down in 2015, but vanadium mining production has since recovered.
Bushveld Minerals’ (LSE:BMN) vanadium division is comprised of three assets in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex. The company says that together they have a JORC resource base of 439.6 million tonnes, including 55 million tonnes of JORC reserves, with “some of the highest primary grades in the world.”
Mine production: 8,400 MT
Last is Brazil, whose vanadium production ramped up to 8,400 MT in 2017 from 8,000 MT in 2016.
Brazil’s production increase is largely thanks to Largo Resources (TSX:LGO), which describes itself as the only pure-play vanadium producer. The company’s Maracas Menchen mine is the highest-grade vanadium mine in the world, and achieved record quarterly production in Q4 2017, reaching 2,539 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide. Its guidance for 2018 is 8,950 to 9,950 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide.
Want to find out more about vanadium and the metal’s outlook for 2018? Click here for our overview.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.