Niobium is an element which, when added to steel, makes it stronger, lighter in weight, and highly resistant to corrosion. These steels are known as High Strength, Low Alloy steels (HSLA). Niobium is added to steel in the form of Ferroniobium, which is a mixture of 65% niobium and 35% iron. Ferroniobium represents over 90% of world niobium production. For many applications, such as super alloys and oil and gas pipelines steels, there are no effective substitutes for niobium.
Phase at Room Temp.
2750 K (2477°C or 4491°F)
5017 K (4744°C or 8571°F)
8.57 grams per cubic centimeter
Powerful Steel Strengthener
Niobium strengthens steel, which allows for lighter structures and vehicles. It also makes steel more corrosion resistant.
Vital to Multiple Markets
Niobium is vital to applications in many markets, including aerospace, construction, transportation, oil & gas, superalloys and others.
Growing Market Demand
Demand for Niobium implies a global market value of $2B–$3B, with Compound Annual Growth Rates in the 4-6% range.
Recent Trends in Steel Alloy Markets
- Recently strengthened rebar standards in China are raising Chinese consumption of vanadium and niobium. Western and Chinese steel producers are shifting some melts towards niobium.
- These standards, and other factors, have helped to drive up pricing for both of these high-strength steel additives.
- Chinese utilization of Ferroniobium (FeNb) in HSLA steel was 22g of Niobium per tonne in 2017. That compares to 130g/t in the EU, and a 55g/t global average.
- China’s increased access to FeNb, via China Molybdenum’s purchase of Anglo-American’s Brazilian and their 15% equity stake in CBMM, is expected to continue to increase utilization of FeNb in China’s steel sector.
- Brazilian FeNb exports grew 9.8% to 76,044 tonnes in the first 3 quarters of 2018.
- U.S. imports of FeNb grew 24% to 9,510 tonnes in the first 3 quarters of 2018.
Superalloy Blog Posts
One global macro trend is highly likely to accelerate in the aftermath of COVID-19: increased investment in domestic materials supply chains as a means of reducing the reliance of Western nations on supply chains in developing nations. Asia’s dominance in many strategic supply chains has become painfully obvious since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.
The more we mine and manufacture our own critical minerals and materials, the more secure our collective economic and national security will be. But there is another compelling driver behind the resurgence of interest in critical minerals mining and manufacturing: high-tech jobs and economic growth for states and localities.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors play a major role in any business, particularly those involved in natural resource development. Doing right by the environment while we serve the needs of our customers, and serving our society’s need for critical minerals, are central to the mission of the NioCorp team.
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