US Commerce Department launches Section 232 vanadium probe

The United States Department of Commerce has launched an investigation under Section 232 into whether the current inflow of vanadium imports threatens to impair national security.

The initiation of the investigation came after domestic vanadium producers AMG Vanadium and U.S. Vanadium petitioned Commerce to open an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

The petition contends that the domestic vanadium industry is harmed by low-priced imports, the distortionary effect of Chinese and Russian industrial policies and limited export markets due to value-added tax regimes in other vanadium-producing countries.

“Vanadium is utilized in our national defense and critical infrastructure, and is integral to certain aerospace applications,” US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a release on Tuesday June 2.

US ferro-vanadium prices have been under pressure since late February, which was worsened following Covid-19-related steel mill shutdowns beginning in mid-March.

Fastmarkets’ assessment for ferro-vanadium 70-80%V, in-whs Pittsburgh was $9.95-10.25 per lb on May 28, down 27.5% from a high of $13.60-14.25 per lb on February 20.

Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security will conduct the investigation and allow the opportunity for public comment until July 20.