EVRAZ Nikom is specialized in the production of ferrovanadium, the major vanadium product used by the steel industry to increase strength and hardness. The company produces ferrovanadium by converting the vanadium pentoxide supplied by EVRAZ Vanady Tula, another EVRAZ group member and the largest European producer of vanadium pentoxide. EVRAZ Nikom produces 4,600 metric tons of ferrovanadium yearly that are shipped to steelmakers across the globe. The company has been 100% owned by EVRAZ since 2007.
EVRAZ is a vertically integrated steel, mining and vanadium business with operations in Russia, Ukraine, the USA, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Established by a group of Russian engineers and scientists in 1992, the company is among the world’s top 20 steel producers based on crude steel production of 16.1 million tons in 2013. EVRAZ steel products are used for infrastructure projects around the world, including railways, bridges and pipelines, residential and office buildings and stadiums. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, as a constituent of the FTSE 250, employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide and generated sales of 14.4 billion USD in 2013. EVRAZ has a particularly strong position in vanadium production. “We are one of the largest vanadium producers in the world, and the only producer of vanadium iron ore in Russia,” explains Tomas Palma, CEO of EVRAZ Nikom.
EVRAZ Nikom has been producing ferroalloys in the Czech Republic since 1960. Today, it is one of four EVRAZ ferrovanadium producers, with the other three being located in Russia, the USA and South Africa. Together with China, Russia and South Africa are the world’s main vanadium mining countries. The production process includes various steps, as Mr. Palma describes: “Vanadium is primarily recovered from magnetite ore which is processed to produce a slag containing vanadium pentoxide. This is done by our sister company EVRAZ Vanady Tula. Then we further process the vanadium pentoxide to ferrovanadium by aluminothermic reactions. It is a fascinating, high-tech process which is mastered by only a few competitors worldwide.”
EVRAZ Nikom has a total workforce of 60. The company ships all of its products abroad, to steelmaking businesses all over the world. “Ferrovanadium is used for applications which require particularly strong steel, such as for the construction of bridges, railways or chemical plants,” explains Mr. Palma. All ferrovanadium sales activities are coordinated by an EVRAZ subsidiary in Switzerland. “This company deals with all vanadium assets in the Group,” states Mr. Palma. As a byproduct of ferrovanadium, EVRAZ Nikom sells slag. This activity is controlled directly by the Czech company itself. “Customers are mainly in Europe,” says Mr. Palma. As one of the leading players in the global vanadium industry, EVRAZ Nikom is determined to further advance its position, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. “In the long term, we want to grow our production capacity by 25%,” says Mr. Palma. “At the same time, we are focused on further optimizing our materials input to further increase the quality of the finished product and on keeping our strong heritage in operational reliability.” Among the four ferrovanadium producers in the EVRAZ Group, EVRAZ Nikom enjoys a significant competitive advantage. “We are the lowest-cost producer in the group,” states Mr. Palma.