Date: Nov 29, 2018

Last year was a great year for most battery metals with cobalt taking the lead as its price more than doubled. Lithium prices also rose healthily. But 2018 saw a different dynamic as prices cooled and corrected for all but one metal gaining favor in battery markets: vanadium. That grey metal rose even stronger than cobalt last year and continues to surge in 2018.

Mining companies in the vanadium space have experienced an increase in interest including BHP Billiton Ltd (NYSE: BHP), Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ: GSM), Glencore PLC (LSE: GLEN).

Indeed, the interest has spurred on junior miners like Maxtech Ventures to add vanadium to their roster. Maxtech Ventures (CSE: MVT) (OTC: MTEHF) is possibly one of the most likely near term producers of new manganese resources based on its Brazilian prospects. The company just announced its acquisition of two large vanadium properties (3,500 hectares) in the state of Bahia, Brazil, putting Maxtech squarely in focus.

This also comes at a time when the U.S. Government is moving to reduce the country’s reliance on imports for critical materials, such as vanadium, used in the manufacture of battery technologies for automotive and high tech applications. And so the race is on.

Vanadium Pricing a Stronghold

Roughly 90% of global vanadium supplies go to hardening steal. The little-known metal is also used to prevent global warming in an increasing manner.

Since lithium is currently the metal of choice for powering EVs (electric vehicles), vanadium has the opportunity to become its counterpart for powering stationary batteries. These are large utility-scale systems used to store mass energy from wind and solar farms. Like the well-known zinc-air flow batteries, vanadium batteries can provide significant advantages compared to large stationary lithium-ion battery systems.

In the pricing game, vanadium is not only impressive thanks to its price performance that is up over 700% since 2015, but all that more attractive since supply and demand look very bullish at this point. Thanks to rising applications, demand has increased significantly over the last several years, however supply is steadily decreasing, largely because of mine depletion and global environmental restrictions slowing production.

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