Overview of the Life Cycle Assessment program

Since the 1990s, the non-ferrous and ferrous metals industries, including IMOA, have adopted Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as the environmental tool of choice to supply environmental information to customers, help identify areas for process improvement, and measure environmental performance within the industry. IMOA has undertaken several Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) analyses of metallurgical molybdenum intermediate products and molybdenum chemicals, resulting in a library of high quality western-world average LCI data on these products.

In 2001, IMOA completed its first LCI on the metallurgical production of technical grade molybdic oxide (tech oxide) in powder form, tech oxide in briquette form, and ferromolybdenum in chip form (Metallurgical Mo LCI). The study was performed by Ecobalance, Inc.

In 2006, IMOA completed its second LCI on eight molybdenum chemicals
(Mo Chemical LCI), and in 2008, the Metallurgical Mo LCI was updated with an increase in IMOA-member participation, updated facility data, and some updated modeling decisions. The Executive Summaries of the 2006 and 2008 studies are available. Anne Landfield Greig, now the Principal of Four Elements Consulting, LLC, performed these studies.

IMOA’s LCI programme provides valuable information to IMOA, its members, and other stakeholders. For example:

  • The molybdenum industry has current and robust LCI information to provide to customers and other stakeholders to support downstream product LCAs.
  • The industry has current LCI information with which to proactively represent its products.
  • The industry can benchmark its environmental performance as the LCIs provide a baseline with which to measure progress.  
  • Using data summary sheets developed during the LCI process, individual participating companies can benchmark their data against the industry average and help pinpoint areas for process and product improvement. Individual participating companies can take lessons learned from the LCI exercise to integrate some aspects and impacts into their company-wide Environmental Management Systems or other industrial policies or environmental improvement programs.
  • The LCIs may help with decision-making and evaluation of the performance of molybdenum products through their life cycle (i.e., through use and end-of-life) in the context of sustainable development and practices.

The molybdenum LCIs adhere to the LCA guidelines summarised in the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) series of standards. Specifically:

  • ISO 14040:1997(E), the International Standard of the International Standardization Organization, Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework.
  • ISO 14044:2006, Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guidelines.

IMOA’s plan for the LCI programme is to keep the database current and continue to enhance the methodology and understanding of the LCI studies and of molybdenum products in the broader context (i.e., LCAs of molybdenum-containing products). From 2012 to 2014, IMOA participated in an industry wide effort to review current LCA practices and experience, and develop new guidance on how to adopt a more harmonized approach to LCI and Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methodologies within the metals and minerals industry. IMOA intends to continue updating the LCI data every five to seven years to take into account more eco-efficient processes and improved emissions monitoring procedures and to broaden the geographical coverage and number of participating IMOA members. Recommendations for improvement concerning both the documentation and the data are welcome.

Frequently Asked Questions about the studies
Request the Molybdenum LCI data
LCA links and references