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Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

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May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China
South African V-Ti magnetite to optimize cost for Chinese vanadium enterprises
----Interview with Thomas Baring
General Manager
Pelagic Resources Pty Ltd
PELAGIC’s Vanadium-Titanium Magnetite locates in Limpopo province, South Africa. It’s the world's largest declared mineral resource to be developed, with about 662.3 million tons of total reserves. The surrounding infrastructure includes ESKOM-operated high-voltage power lines and substations, the Deamber Dam, and the railway transportation system.

Asian Metal: Mr. Thomas Baring, thank you for accepting interview from Asian Metal. Firstly, please give us a brief introduction of your company.

Thomas Baring: Since the foundation in 2013, PELAGIC has created a mature mining and marketing network of metallic products, including manganese, chromium and vanadium, and also established good international partnerships between suppliers, Banks and end consumers. PELAGIC’s heard quarter locates in Singapore. We have regional offices in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and the market development agency in China. South Africa has the largest Vanadium-Titanium Magnetite reserves, and China has the largest consumer market. It’s the most important market strategy for PELAGIC to expand the distribution channels of vanadium products between South Africa and China.

Asian Metal: South Africa is world-known for its reserve of vanadium-titanium magnetite resources. How is the resource grade in local area?

Thomas Baring: PELAGIC’s Vanadium-Titanium Magnetite could be purified into VTM concentrate with V2O5 content between 2.0-2.2% and iron content of 58.5%, which can effectively reduce the cost of quenching vanadium metal.

Asian Metal: Australia is comparable to South Africa in vanadium resources. What are South African vanadium-titatinium magnetite’s advantages over those in Australia in terms of cost and quality?

Thomas Baring: Compared with Australia, there is no doubt that vanadium-titanium magnetite from South Africa has higher quality, including higher V2O5 and iron purities. On account of the objective situation of transportation in South Africa, PELAGIC plans to achieve the shipment of 150,000 to 180,000 tons per ship within the foreseeable period of time to effectively reduce the shipping cost.

Asian Metal: Which regions do you sell your company's current vanadium-titanium magnetite resources to? How about the main customer group?

Thomas Baring: PELAGIC's main target customers are the large and medium-sized steel mills in coastal China, as well as a variety of vanadium-bearing pig iron smelters and ammonium metavadate producers who could use Vanadium-Titanium Magnetite directly.

Asian Metal: Vanadium price in China stand at a much higher level than any other countries and areas now, but there seems to be an invisible resistance in the import of vanadium-titanium magnetite from South Africa. What do you think is the main reason? How should we reduce the barrier?

Thomas Baring: First, the current barrier mainly lies in the popularization of vanadium-titanium magnetite refining technique to various steel plants in China, which leads to the result that Chinese vanadium consumers didn't see advantages of importing vanadium-titanium magnetite from South Africa at the moment. The second reason is the shipping distance from South Africa to China, which is a solid resistance that could be completely eliminated. Under this circumstance, we now couldonly choose how to suit with our customers. With the guaranteed quality of our vanadium-titanium magnetite, of which the price is calculated in detail according to the cost, we could sign contracts with best cost performance with potential Chinese buyers. In fact, considering the high quality and characteristics of vanadium-titanium magnetite in South Africa, we believe that Chinese enterprises should also consider how to process and smelt on-site in the mining areas in South Africa effectively reduce the costs.

Asian Metal: What do you think is the main reason why South African vanadium-titanium magnetite has not come into Chinese market by large volume so far?

Thomas Baring: As we just mentioned, Chinese consumers do not see a large-scale advantage in importing vanadium-titanium magnetite at present. We need to gradually develop and cultivate the market foundation, which is a worthwhile long-term investment, as South Africa's vast reserves of vanadium-titanium magnetite are badly in need of linking up with China's booming demand market.

Asian Metal: China has the world's largest vanadium consumption market. How do you think could strengthen the linkage between South Africa's resources and China's consumption?

Thomas Baring: The first step is to popularize the use of South African high-quality vanadium-titanium magnetite in Chinese market. Secondly, we should invite potential Chinese vanadium companies to invest in resource exploitation and processing in South Africa to efficiently reduce the cost.

Asian Metal: The major potential vanadium-titanium magnetite consumers in China are mainly located in the inland areas. How do you think of the reality of high freight for land transportation in China?

Thomas Baring: If the shipping cost from South Africa to China could decrease to a certain extent, plus the South African vanadium-titanium magnetite with high quality, it could effectively cover a part of high land freight in China. However, if China could process and digest imported vanadium-titanium magnetite in coastal areas or nearby the ports, it would be the optimal choice.

Asian Metal: What is your company's development plan regarding the downstream consumption market in the next 3 years? Is there any plan to extend the industrial chain to produce vanadium pentoxide or other downstream vanadium products?

Thomas Baring: PELAGIC has been working closely with our potential customers in China on basis of the stable supply of vanadium-titanium magnetite from South Africa, including but not limit to the strategic cooperation agreement with Hebei Logistics Group Metal Materials Co., Ltd.. We are also gradually promoting cooperation with Chinese partners to invest in refining of vanadium pentoxide flake, ammonium metavanadate and other vanadium producs in South African vanadium-titanium magnetite mining areas.

Asian Metal: Thank you for sharing.

Thomas Baring: Thanks for Asian Metal. It’s a great honor to speak on your professional vanadium information platform.