You'll find no shortage of ASX shares operating in the resource space.
That's mostly because Australia has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources.
When it comes to critical minerals like vanadium, however, the number of ASX shares exploring for and producing the element is much narrower.
We'll look at three of those below.
What is vanadium?
If you recall your periodic table from your school days, vanadium is atomic number 23.
It's a ductile metal that's resistant to corrosion from alkalis, acids and salt water.
Vanadium is primarily used to produce stronger, more heat resistant steel. You'll also find it in nuclear reactors and modern batteries.
Currently China produces almost 60% of the global vanadium supply.
And with the Western world working to secure supplies of crucial materials outside of China, vanadium has been listed as a critical mineral by the Australian government.
So, which ASX shares are digging up vanadium?
The ASX shares cashing in on vanadium
First off, we have the aptly named Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX: AVL).
The company's main focus is its Australian Vanadium Project, located in Western Australia, which has a globally significant vanadium resource.
AVL has seen some big share price swings over the past 12 months on reports of various successes and setbacks. All up, investors have rewarded the company, with shares up 120% since this time last year.
The small-cap ASX share has a market capitalisation of $157 million.
Who else is focused on vanadium?
Another ASX share involved with vanadium is Neometals Ltd (ASX: NMT).
Among its projects, Neometals is the 100% owner of the Barrambie vanadium-titanium project. The company is also working on vanadium recovery in Europe.
Following a 158% share price surge over the past 12 months, Neometals has a current market cap of $705 million.
Looking into the larger companies, there's also Syrah Resources Ltd (ASX: SYR).
While not the element is its primary focus, Syrah reported its Balama graphite project in Mozambique "contains a significant vanadium by-product resource which presents a potential value-accretive opportunity".
The company added:
Vanadium, a by-product which is liberated during the graphite production process, could potentially be refined into a saleable product via processing of material currently reporting to tailings at Balama.
The Syrah resources share price is up 79% since this time last year.
That gives the ASX share a market cap of $1.2 billion.