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Vanadium is sold in many different forms - Vanadium Pentoxide, FerroVanadium and Nitrides of Vanadium, such as the trademarked Nitrovan which Vametco produces, all of which can be directly added to steel during production melting.
Vanadium Pentoxide is a specific crystalline compound with the specific formula (V2O5) whilst FerroVanadium is a metal alloy (eg like pewter or brass) that can contain any percentage of Vanadium - typically 35% to 80% for commercial FerroVanadium feedstock for steel strengthening.
Vanadium Pentoxide always contains 56% Vanadium by mass, whilst the Vanadium content of FerroVanadium is indicated in the description, eg FeV(80%). V2O5 is conventionally priced in USD/lb of compound, whilst FerroVanadium is usually priced in USD per Kg of contained Vanadium - (USD/KgV) - so that the prices of FeV(30%) and FeV(80%) can be compared directly.
As a result you might expect the FeV price to be at least 2.2 * 1/0.56 = 3.9 more than the V2O5 one - in practise the ratio appears almost exactly 5, presumably a result of the easier processing of the already steel-like FeV alloy. Nitrovan sells at a premium to FeV because the both the nitrogen and nitrides of Vanadium that it produces appear to be more efficient at strengthening steel than standard FeV.
European prices for FerroVanadium (USD/KgV)
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,” Mark Smith of Largo Resources has stated.
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.
European Price for V2O5 Powder (98%) in USD/lb
The Vametco deal was first outlined to shareholders in the 9th May 2016 RNS but the Bushveld team must have been doing due diligence it for at some 6-18 months beforehand. You can see that Fortune managed to strike this deal at pretty much the lowest point for V2O5 in the last 5 years. Sometimes there are advantages to being small - being able to act quickly is one that Fortune has been able to take great advantage of.
Jan 2018, Chinese Vanadium Slag ban now in place and evidence of roll-out of new rebar regulations has caused the Vanadium price to move above the previous levels seen in September 2017. Additional evidence that the Chinese government is now targeting multiple Vanadium
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 - the so-called July 2017 price shock.