CHICAGO – Canada’s American Vanadium Corp. is hoping to build long-term partnerships with Japanese companies in vanadium-related businesses, its chief executive said in an interview.
The Canadian company hopes to start vanadium production at its wholly owned mine in Nevada as early as 2015. The Gibellini Project is currently subject to environmental screening by U.S. authorities.
“We have received a lot of interest from Japan. We have been actively in discussion with companies looking at building vanadium flow batteries as well as steelmakers in Japan,” American Vanadium President and CEO Bill Radvak said.
“Once you form a relationship, they (Japanese firms) are true partners for a long term. For us, it would be fantastic if we are able to get into a joint venture with (a) Japanese company,” Radvak said.
While vanadium is mainly used for reinforcing steel, the company expects a surge in demand for use in flow batteries, Radvak said.
Flow batteries, which have large capacities and long lives and are safe, are used at conventional power plants but are also effective in storing surplus power at night and for solar and wind power generation.
“In the business of manufacturing flow batteries, if you can’t control your supply cost of vanadium, you’re going to lose all your profit,” Radvak pointed out. “You can’t enter the business in a significant way unless you get a long-term supply contract.”
“We are looking for a partnership to help build this business in the U.S. At this point, our interest is really partnering with Japanese or Chinese companies, possibly both,” he said.
American Vanadium expects the mine in Nevada to be the only vanadium mine in the United States and meet about 20 percent of vanadium demand in the country.
“We could meet the needs of both U.S. and Japanese markets,” Radvak said.