China: demand for vanadium could increase
In 2017 the world market is watching a increase in the cost of some metals — lithium, cobalt and ruthenium. The rise is observed in the vanadium market. Says Metal Bulletin, the price of the metal increased more than 60% since July. The main reason for such a sharp rise is the possible increase of its consumption from the PRC. China Iron & Steel Research Institute has made a proposal to change the national standard regarding the rebar. Now the greatest demand is the production of HRB400. However, the limit of its yield strength is 335 MPa, which when you replace HRB500 may increase to 500−600 MPa. This approach will allow to increase the seismic stability of the construction. CISRI believes that the authorities will be able to make a decision in September 2017.
The share of rebar HRB400 accounts for about 65% of production in China. It contains from 0.03 to 0.05% vanadium. In HRB500 the content of this metal ranges from 0.05 to 0.08%. Every year China produces about 160 million tons of rebar that meets national standards. Given this fact, the demand for vanadium could increase by 30%, which will be about 10 thousand tons annually. Demand may increase due to high production of batteries. In this area 2015−2025 consumption may increase tenfold, albeit from a low level.
This offer may not be sufficient. Until recently, one of the leading suppliers of vanadium was considered to be the Mapochs mine. But in 2016 this source in South Africa were blocked. In China, the same production declined or was even stopped on the background of the previous environmental requirements. As for the new projects in the near future, the launch is not scheduled. In many respects this situation is explained by a small share of income attributable to vanadium for the large suppliers.