It is a silvery grey, ductile, soft, transition metal. The development of an oxide layer stabilizes the metal against oxidation. Vanadium is the chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. The element exists naturally in about 65 various minerals and in fossil fuel deposits. It is made in China and Russia from steel smelter slag; other countries make it either from the flue dust of heavy oil, or as a by-product of uranium mining.