What is niobium?

Niobium (Nb) is a metal with unique properties that make it essential as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy.


Niobium supply is heavily concentrated with the world’s major producer, CBMM, accounting for approximately 80% of global supply. Three operations currently produce almost all global supply. Two of these operations, CBMM and CMOC, are located in Brazil, with the third, Niobec, in Canada.

Grade of Key Niobium Producers

Niobium Market Distribution

Due to the concentration of supply, niobium has been identified as a critical mineral by many countries including the United States, the European Union and Australia.


The primary niobium product is ferroniobium (FeNb, 65% Nb) which accounts for approximately 90% of a 100,000tpa market.

Niobium Demand by Type

Ferroniobium is primarily utilised as a micro-alloy in steel production which significantly increases yield and tensile strength while retaining its formability and weldability.

Small amounts of niobium (less than 1%) significantly increase the strength and decreases the weight of steel products, leading to substantial economic benefits in the construction industry. Through the use of this higher quality steel, there is potential to lower the costs and carbon emissions of steel used in construction.

The addition of approximately 300g of niobium can reduce the weight of steel in a mid-size car by 200kg which increases fuel efficiency by 5%, leading to significant applications within the automobile industry, improving performance and reducing energy consumption.

Niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) represents a key growth market through the use in niobium battery technologies. Recent research into the use of niobium in electric vehicle batteries has shown significant potential benefits including a 10x longer life than traditional batteries, the reduction in charge times down to six minutes or less and increased stability and performance.