Vanadium pentoxide prices have been rising steeply over the last 12 months. Metal Bulletin’s weekly indicator reached $9.40/lb (mid) on 6th August 2017, having started 2016 at just $2.38/lb. This is the highest it has reached since November 2008.
The rise is widely attributed to shut-downs of capacity in China for environmental reasons but comes on top of the closure in 2016 of Evraz’s Highveld operation in South Africa and conversions of Chinese steelmaking capacity from using magnetite iron ore, from which co-product vanadium is obtained, to the more cost-effective hematite. Demand is increasing for traditional uses in high-strength steel but also emerging for use in vanadium redox flow batteries – used for storage of energy from intermittent renewable sources.