Vanadium prices fell to a low at the beginning of 2016, with FerroVanadium prices dropping from over US$22/kg at the start of 2015 to less than US$14/kg at the end of that year. During 2016, prices recovered, reaching US$20/kg in November.
Roskill have reported that most market players expect prices to continue to improve over 2017, primarily due to the demand for vanadium from the steel sector forecast to grow at a steady rate, whilst the excitement around vanadium redox batteries looks set to continue. Over the same period the availability of stock is expected to remain tight.
In July 2017, following reports that China intended to ban the importing of Vanadium slag by the end of the year and that there were plant shutdowns in china for environmental inspection there was a sudden rise in the price of Vanadium products. Today, July 30th 2017 prices in Europe are in excess of 40 USD/kg.
Industry sources agreed that China’s developments have pushed prices higher, as 90 percent of vanadium demand comes from the steel industry.
Mark Smith, Largo Resource’s (TSX:LGO) CEO and president, commented “Although the steel market in general doesn’t feel healthy right now, specialty steel is a high-growth area,”
Demand for high-strength low alloy steel (HSLA), mainly vanadium and niobium, is definitely growing in the aerospace and automotive industries.
“Twenty years ago there was zero percent HSLA steel used in the production of automobiles. Today about half of the steel that goes into automobiles is HSLA …. Experts suggest that within three to five years it will go up to 80 percent,” Smith said.
As Scientific American has pointed out cars can be made 6-8% more efficient in their weight can be reduced by 10% – thus the addition of perhaps just a few kg of Vanadium has to potential to save one third of a tonne of Carbon Dioxide emissions per year, every year, for every vehicle.