Demand for vanadium to double in next decade
May 15, 2014 — Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher for InvestorIntel interviews Luisa Moreno, PhD, MEng, Sr. Metals and Mining Analyst for Euro Pacific Canada about Largo Resources (‘Largo’, TSXV: LGO). Largo is developing the Maracas vanadium property in Brazil. Largo’s processing facility in the State of Bahia is 99.8% complete and it has the potential to turn Brazil into one of the world’s top vanadium producers. Luisa was the one that brought Largo to Tracy’s attention in the first place, because she thinks vanadium demand will be increasing sharply.
There are few companies pursuing vanadium projects and Largo is drawing most of the market’s attention because it is literally just weeks away from launch. Luisa adds, “they have the highest grade vanadium deposit in the world featuring relatively low silica content,” making it easier and cheaper to process. Tracy points out that the vanadium market has huge potential and its applications extend beyond steel production.
Luisa does note that “about 90% of vanadium is used for steel making and its use is spreading, particularly in China, India, Brazil and other emerging countries.” Steel itself is drawing increased demand in Africa as well. Vanadium reinforces steel and it is an important ingredient in modern steel alloys. However, vanadium output has “not been increasing at the same pace as steel: there is potential for a vanadium shortfall,” warns Luisa, “and that’s where the supply from Brazil will be really important.”
Largo has an offtake agreement to supply Glencore International with 100% of its vanadium for six years. Under the agreement, Largo will not have to worry about shipping because Glencore will actually come to the site itself and literally ‘pick it up’- such is vanadium’s importance and demand. China is another important driver of vanadium demand because of its use in high strength steel for construction. Demand for such steel in China — and other parts of Asia — has been booming because of new anti-earthquake compliance standards.
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Adrian Nixon is a Senior Editor at InvestorIntel. He began his career as a scientist and is a Chartered Chemist and Member of the Royal ... <Read more about Adrian Nixon>