Serendipity smiles on Largo’s Maracás Menchen record output as vanadium price rockets 249% y/y

4TH OCTOBER 2017 
BY: HENRY LAZENBY 


VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Pure-play vanadium producer Largo Resourceshas recorded record output of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) produced at its flagship Maracás Menchen mine, in BahiaBrazil, during the third quarter ended September 30.

The TSX-listed company said on Tuesday the operation had produced 2 513 t of V2O5 in the quarter – 202 t more than the previous record set in the second quarter of 2016, and 4.7% above the plant’s nameplate capacity.

The record output dovetails into a 249% jump in V2O5 prices, which according to Metal Bulletin, averaged $8.74/lb in the period – up from the $3.51/lb average price in the same period of 2016. Recent V2O5 prices have touched the $11/lb level, as a Chinese crackdown on illegal miners and increased environmental enforcement push prices higher.

“Largo anticipates that its continuing positive operational performance and low-cost production will deliver record breaking results as vanadium prices continue to remain high. Largo has emerged as a key player in the vanadium industry,” stated Largo president and CEO Mark Smith in a news release.

Largo had navigated some tough times since the ramp-up of Maracás Menchen started in 2014, just as V2O5 prices fell to the lowest levels in decades. V2O5 prices bottomed at about $2.50/lb in 2016.

However, a management shakeup, successful negotiations with lenders to defer interest payments and extend maturities, and an ongoing focus on leveraging operating efficiencies to keep production costs at a minimum have helped the company pull through. It can now look forward to strengthening fundamentals for V2O5 as demand, including new sources of demand, grow.