World-Class Molybdenum Deposits


"Open-pit operations are usually the most cost-efficient."

Molybdenum or moly, is a commonly occurring metallic, silvery-white element with the chemical symbol of Mo. The metal is most widely used in high-strength steel alloys. Molybdenum deposits are found and mined on almost every continent. What makes molybdenum unique is that it has a very high melting point of 4,730⁰ F. This is 2,000 degrees higher than the melting point of steel. It has the fifth highest melting point of all of the elements. Molybdenite is the major ore mineral for molybdenum. The Mo content of viable ore bodies ranges between 0.01% and 0.25%. The U.S. and China produce the most molybdenum and, in the U.S., moly is mined mostly in Colorado, Idaho, Arizona and Utah.

"World molybdenum reserves and production capacity were concentrated in a few countries. World mine output in 2008 was estimated to be 218,000 t of which, in descending order of production, China, the U.S., Chile, Peru and Canada provided about 90%. Chile, China and the U.S. also held about 83% of the estimated 8.6 Mt of world molybdenum reserves," according to the USGS 2008 Molybdenum Minerals Year Book. There are also multiple moly mines in operation or development in Australia.

Molybdenum is obtained from two different types of mines: primary mines and byproduct mines. Byproduct mines are most commonly referred to as Copper/Molybdenum ore bodies, while 'primary' mines focus solely on molybdenum production.

Amongst the considerations for the economic viability of an operation are the infrastructure costs associated with each mining operation. These include, but are not limited to, access to electricity for operations, roads and railways for transportation and the proximity of ore processing and refining facilities. Also timelines for production on developing mines should be considered before investment into moly mining companies. Open-pit operations are usually the most cost-efficient.

Related Articles

Get Our Streetwise Reports Newsletter Free

A valid email address is required to subscribe