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Molybdenum mining & processing

Molybdenum mining and processing techniques have improved continuously since mining started at Climax near Leadville, Colorado in 1916.

Today, the principal molybdenum mines, both primary and by-product, are found along the Great Continental Divide of the Americas, in China and in the CIS. Many of these mines are amongst the most productive in the world, with the largest capable of moving over 50,000 tonnes of ore per day.

Mining and processing plants are operated with minimum emissions under stringent environmental protection regulations. 

Truck and shovel

Truck and shovel in an open pit mine
(Courtesy of Kennecott Utah
Copper Corporation, USA)

Molybdenum ore reserve base

Global molybdenum reserve

Global molybdenum reserve base 2022: 12,000,000 mt
Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodities Summaries 2023: page 120

The Reserve Base shown in the figure above is 'That part of an identified resource that meets specified minimum physical and chemical criteria related to current mining and production practices, including those for grade, quality, thickness, and depth...The Reserve Base includes those resources that are currently economic (reserves), marginally economic (marginal reserves), and some of those that are currently subeconomic (subeconomic resources)1’.
1U.S. Geological Survey, 2022, page 198