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Global molybdenum use and production up in 2017


Global use of molybdenum rose to 558 million lbs in 2017, up 9% from the previous year’s total of 512.6 million lbs, almost matching the record high of 559 million lbs in 2014. Full year figures from the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) released today also show an increase in global production for 2017, reaching a total of 568.2 million lbs, up 13% from 503.4 million lbs in 2016.

The greatest usage of molybdenum in 2017 was in China, with a total of 202.3 million lbs, an increase of 9% compared with 186 million lbs in 2016. Europe recorded the second biggest share with 140.5 million lbs, up 7% from 131.4 million lbs in 2016. Usage in the USA was 57.2 million lbs, followed by Japan at 52.2 million lbs. Usage in the CIS was 19.6 million lbs, with other countries together totalling 86.1 million lbs.

China regained its position as the biggest molybdenum producing area in 2017, with 200.2 million lbs, an increase of 12% on the total for 2016 and fractionally ahead of South America, with 197.9 million lbs, an increase of 11% on the previous year. North America was once again the third largest producing region with 127.6 million lbs, an increase of 15% from 2016. Production in other countries rose 18% to 42.5 million lbs.

Figures for the fourth quarter of 2017, also released today, saw global usage increase 7% from 138.2 million lbs in Q3 to 148.4 million lbs in Q4. Usage in China increased 11% from 52.4 million lbs in Q3 to 57.9 million lbs in Q4. Usage in Europe increased 8% from 32.4 million lbs in Q3 to 35 million lbs Q4. Usage in USA and Japan was 14 and 14.2 million lbs respectively in Q4, while usage in the CIS and other countries was 5 and 22.3 million lbs respectively.

Total molybdenum production increased by 7% from 141.2 million lbs in Q3 to 150.7 in Q4. Production in China increased 12% from 48.5 million lbs in Q3 to 54.2 million lbs in Q4. Production in South America increased fractionally to 51.2 million lbs, while production in North America rose from 32.2 million lbs in Q3 to 34 million lbs in Q4. Production in other countries increased from 10.5 million lbs in Q3 to 11.3 million lbs in Q4.

Tim Outteridge, IMOA’s Secretary-General, commented: “Last year was a much improved one for the industry, reflecting increasing confidence and rising demand in many sectors. Global use was just 1 million lbs short of the record high reached in 2014.”


Notes for editors
IMOA is a non-profit trade association. We currently represent around 90% of mine production and almost all conversion capacity outside China. We also represent some mining and conversion capacity within China.

Molybdenum is added to steels and cast irons to improve strength, toughness, hardenability and weldability for numerous applications in the automotive, shipbuilding, construction, mining, chemical, oil & gas and energy generation industries. In stainless steels and superalloys, it improves corrosion resistance and high-temperature performance and finds uses in many industrial applications. It is also used in a variety of products from catalysts and lubricants to pigments and paint.

IMOA has a strict antitrust compliance policy which delegates of all meetings are required to observe. All such meetings are observed by legal counsel.

For more information please email the communications team at
For up-to-date information please follow IMOA on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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