Rare metals are necessary for frontier industries of our country. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan has its policy of supply stabilization of rare metals. Vanadium, one of rare metals, is used as adding agent for molten steel. 90 % of vanadium consumption in Japan is for usage as adding agent. The price of vanadium is very sensitive for production in Russia, China and South Africa. Vanadium is one of nine rare metals of national stockpiles which is essential for national industries in Japan. However, there are no records of recovery of vanadium from domestic resources. The survey of vanadium resource in the country has not been executed in the past.
We studied vanadium resource in iron sand deposits along the Pacific Ocean coast, southern Hokkaido and eastern Tohoku area by compiling chemical data in the reports of unused iron resource survey in Japan, which were conducted from 1954 to 1959, followed by sampling survey. V2O5 grade in iron sand samples was generally from 0.12 to 0.16 % at Sahara area, Hokkaido and Ushikawa area, Aomori. The maximum V2O5 grade in iron sand showed 0.44 % at Sahara area, Hokkaido that was nearly same grade as general vanadium ore. We clarified that vanadium in the iron sand resources of our study area was assumed to be originated from Ti magnetite. The decrees of liberation of Ti magnetite were 63 to 71 %. Thus recovery and grade of vanadium was thought to be improved by using Low Intensity Magnetic Separator (LIMS). Possible recovery of V2O5 in Sahara area, Hokkaido, was estimated 781 ton by using recovery rate of 63% in accordance with our study. This V2O5 amount is equivalent to 30 % of Japanese annual import 2,500 ton. The estimated resource of iron sand in Hokkaido is 43 million ton. Thus we estimate that vanadium resource in iron sand is considerable amount in Hokkaido.
Iron sand deposits with high content of vanadium are located widely in our country. The study indicates possibility of contribution for stable supply of vanadium resource by recovery from iron sand resources in Japan.