A soft and ductile element, vanadium naturally occurs in about 65 different minerals and is used mainly to produce certain alloys. It is one of the 26 elements found in most living organisms. Vanadium is never found unbound in nature but it does occur in about 65 different minerals among which are patronite VS4, vanadinite Pb5(VO4)3Cl, and carnotite K2(UO2)2(VO4)2.3H2O.
By far the greatest proportion of the world’s vanadium production is sourced from vanadium-bearing magnetite found in ultramafic gabbro bodies. From these ores vanadium can be calcined to form ferrovanadium, or can be recovered from the vanadium steel smelting process which is widely used in Russia and China.
Vanadium is also present in bauxite, and in carbon containing deposits such as crude oil, coal, oil shale and tar sands.