The vanadium market finally showed of improving in the first quarter of 2003, after a period of chronic oversupply and uneconomic prices. ‘'The Economics of Vanadium (10th edition, 2003)’, published by Roskill Information Services, says that Xstrata’s decision to close the Windimurra plant in Australia and production problems in Russia reduced the supply overhang and pentoxide prices rose accordingly.
While world production rose by almost 10,000 tonnes from 1994-2002, demand during the same period showed only limited growth. Roskill expects the long term future annual growth rate for vanadium demand to be in the region of 3%. However, it sees the price remaining subdued in the medium-term, especially if supplies increase in the absence of new markets and major new applications.
Potential medical uses for vanadium in the treatment of diabetes and as a contraceptive have been identified, but the most significant potential use is the vanadium redox battery. The battery could provide a market for up to 10,000tpy of V205.
More than 85% of all vanadium is consumed in the manufacture of special steels.