An essential element in steelmaking that is also an increasingly important battery mineral.
Vanadium is a hard, silvery grey, ductile, and malleable transition metal that is abundant in the Earth’s crust and present in substantial proportions in more than 150 different minerals. It can be extracted directly from vanadiferous ores but is primarily produced as a co-product of steelmaking processes in the form of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5). Significant amounts of vanadium are also obtained as a by-product from petroleum refining.1https://vanitec.org/vanadium/making-vanadium2https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2022/mcs2022-vanadium.pdf
Most vanadium is produced and consumed in China, with 70% of vanadium-containing minerals extracted in the country in 2022.2https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2022/mcs2022-vanadium.pdf Total global vanadium production was only 100,000 metric tonnes in 2022 – many orders of magnitude less than other base metals such as copper or nickel. The vast majority of global vanadium supply is used to fabricate metal alloys which are then sold to equipment manufacturers, particularly vanadium-steel alloys, which have extremely high strength-to-weight ratios.3https://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1802/u/pp1802u.pdf
Vanadium is expected to be a significant raw material for the clean energy transition as the Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB) is seen by some as a safer alternative to lithium batteries. The advantages of VRBs include that they are water-based, not as sensitive to high temperatures and not inherently flammable as their lithium counterparts.4https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2020/10/24/why-vanadium-flow-batteries-may-be-the-future-of-utility-scale-energy-storage/?sh=47c305b923055https://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1802/u/pp1802u.pdf
Given the lack of public reporting on the vanadium supply chain, it has a very low perceived exposure to ESG risks.
Main Uses and Attributes
Vanadium is a key component in the production of many metal alloys, particularly high strength steel. It is also widely used in the construction of auto parts, buildings, bridges, cranes, pipelines, rail cars, ships, and truck bodies.1https://vanitec.org/vanadium/making-vanadium Substituting vanadium in the steel production process typically requires significant technical adjustments to ensure that product quality is not jeopardised, and as a result vanadium is crucial to a great many industries.1https://vanitec.org/vanadium/making-vanadium
Vanadium is vital in the aerospace industry as vanadium alloys have some of the best strength-to-weight ratio of any engineered material. It is becoming more widely used in clean energy technologies, particularly due to the relatively low safety risks it poses in battery manufacture, as compared to lithium-ion batteries.1https://vanitec.org/vanadium/making-vanadium
Supply Chain Risk
TDi assesses Vanadium for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.
Country Governance Risks
Vanadium's association with countries experiencing: