Vanadium is typically traded as ferrovanadium (FeV)or vanadium pentoxide (V2O5). It is estimated that around 73,000 metric tonnes of vanadium was mined in 2019, with China, Russia and South Africa being the largest producers.

Vanadium occurs in a variety of settings: phosphate rock, titaniferous magnetite, uriniferous sandstone, bauxite, coal, oil and oil shale. It is usually recovered as a by-product. Because of its widespread occurrence it is difficult to know just how much there is. The USGS estimates reserves of 22 million tonnes and resources of about 60 million tonnes.

Around 90% of vanadium is alloyed with steel, to make it lighter, stronger and more heat resistant. It is also used in specialty alloys and in the chemical industry and as a catalyst, and a small but growing use is in vanadium redox flow (“VRF”) batteries. These batteries are expected to be increasingly used to store renewable generated electricity.

model t

The 1908 Ford Model T was the first to use vanadium steel in the chassis.

Virtually all the world’s vanadium is produced by China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil. In fact the USGS estimates that those four countries produced over 95% of the world’s total for 2019.

While Australia does not currently produce any vanadium, it was once produced by the Windimurra operation east of Mt Magnet in WA. This is currently on care and maintenance and is owned by unlisted Atlantic Pty Ltd, a part of the Salim Group of companies, Indonesia’s biggest conglomerate.

An issue with vanadium is the highly variable price. For example, in 2016 vanadium pentoxide was USD3.38/lb, in 2018 it was USD16.4/lb. The 2016 price would be too low for most projects to show a profit. This includes several proposed developers in the list below.

The following is a brief commentary on several ASX listed stocks with vanadium a meaningful part of the portfolio.

Aura Energy Ltd (ASX: AEE)

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
0.2 0.8 2558

The company has been suspended for months, is in dispute with some shareholders and is short on funds. Its main project is the Tiris uranium project in Mauritania and it also has a uranium project in Sweden that also hosts vanadium, nickel and zinc. However, Sweden has banned exploration and development of uranium projects. The company is seeking compensation from the Swedish government.

Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX: AVL)

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
1.5 0.6 1.9 2923 44

The company holds the southern part of the Gabanintha deposit near Meekatharra in WA, the northern part is held by Technology Metals Australia Ltd. It has completed a PFS on a resource of 208Mt @ 0.74% V2O5. The project would have an operating cost of USD4.15/lb V2O5 and a capital cost of USD354M.

The company also sells vanadium redox flow batteries through wholly owned subsidiary VSUN Energy.

King River Resources Ltd (ASX: KRR)

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
2.5 1.8 6.9 1554 39

The company holds the Speewah titanomagnetite deposit located in the Kimberley region of WA. It hosts a resource of 4.7 billion tonnes at 0.3% vanadium, 3.3% titanium and 14.7% iron. However in the first instance the company intends to attempt the production of high purity alumina (the resource grades 12.5% Al2O3) while stockpiling the other metals. May be worth watching should they decide to advance the project as a vanadium play.

Vanadium Resources Ltd (ASX: VR8)

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
2.5 0.9 3.6 374 9

The company holds 74% of the Steelportdrift deposit in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa. It hosts a resource of 612 million tonnes @ 0.78% V2O5, with a high grade core of 167 million tonnes @ 1.07% V2O5. The company is seeking appropriate mining permits and is investigating the best pathway to production.

Technology Metals Australia Ltd (ASX: TMT)

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
35.5 5.9 48 147 52

The company holds the Gabanintha Vanadium Project which hosts a resource of 71 million tonnes @ 1.1% V2O5 and theYarrabubba project which hosts a resource of 14 million tonnes @ 1.1% V2O5. A DFS was completed in 2019 that showed capex of USD318M and opex of USD4.04/lb V2O5.

Extensive process test work has been completed and permitting is underway. Offtake agreements are in place for 6,000 to 10,000 tonnes of the proposed 12,800 tonnes of annual production of V2O5.

TNG Limited (ASX: TNG)

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
9.1 3.9 12.8 1212 110

The company holds the Mt Peake Project located 230km north of Alice Springs in NT. It hosts a resource of 160 million tonnes @ 0.28% V2O5, 5.3 TiO2 and 23% Fe. The plan is to produce a concentrate on site and then truck it to a DIVAN ® processing facility near Darwin where three high purity products will be produced. The DIVAN ® process is a hydro based process designed by TNG and SMS Group, a German metallurgical company.

The project will produce 500ktpa of Fe2O3, 6ktpa V2O5 and 100ktpa synthetic rutile, the latter will be converted to TiO2 pigment. The project is very advanced, with debt finance in place and LOM offtake for 100% of all three products.

Venus Metals Corporation Ltd

Price (c) 52 Week Low 52 Week High Shares (M) MCAP (M)
24.5 13 34.5 151 37

The company holds 90% of the Youanmi Vanadium Project, located 40km southeast of Windimurra, which hosts a resource of 134 million tonnes @ 0.34% V2O5, 6.27% TiO2 and 21% Fe. Metallugical research is underway to develop a process to produce all three products.

This is a low grade project but the companies main project is the Youanmi gold project, in various JV’s with Rox Resources.

There are a number of other companies with vanadium interests, generally of secondary interest to other projects and at an early stage of development. For some there is no established, economic treatment route.


The highly variable vanadium price is problematic for developers and was the principle reason for the close of Windimurra. Vanadium is also readily substituted by various elements including manganese, molybdenum, niobium, titanium and tungsten. One of the reasons for the 2019 steep fall in price was increased substitution by niobium. The vanadium market is small and opaque, making it difficult to predict future prices.

vanadium price

Vanadium pentoxide flake 98% Price USD/lb

Vanadium is generally mined as a by-product rather than the primary mineral. High titanium values also generally cause increased costs.

It is expected that vanadium demand will rise with increased consumption of steel, particularly by China, and increasing construction of VRF batteries. It should be noted that with regard to the latter, cheap methods have been developed for producing the VRF electrolyte from iron slag and coal ash.  Little is known about future supply growth, but there are certainly sufficient reserves and resources to sustain substantial growth.