• In order to improve your experience on our website, we use functionally necessary session cookies, but no advertising or social media cookies.
  • We use the Google Analytics service to analyse website use and visitor numbers as part of a continual improvement process. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about our website’s use. The privacy policy of Google Analytics can be found here: Google Analytics.
  • You can withdraw your consent at any time on our Privacy Notice page.


Molybdenum occurs in nature in chemical combination with other elements. There are various molybdenum-bearing minerals, but the only one of commercial significance is molybdenite (MoS2) - a natural molybdenum sulfide. 

In ore bodies, molybdenite is generally present in quantities from 0.01-0.25%. It can occur as the sole mineralization, but it is often associated with sulfide minerals of other metals, notably copper.

Depending upon the minerals contained in the ore body and their quality, molybdenum mines are grouped in three classes:

  • Primary mines, where the recovery of molybdenite is the sole objective
  • By-product mines, where the recovery of copper-bearing ores is the primary objective, and molybdenite recovery provides additional economic value
  • Co-product mines, where both molybdenite and copper-bearing minerals are recovered

If the ore lies close to the surface, mining is done using open cast pit technology. The overburden is excavated to reveal the ore body for easy extraction.

If the ore lies deep underground, the underground block caving mining technique is used, where large blocks of ore are undercut and allowed to collapse under their own weight. The resulting rock is brought to the surface for processing.

Molybdenum Ore

Molybdenum ore: dark gray areas are MoS2, while light areas are worthless rock called gangue

Thompson Creek mine

Thompson Creek open pit molybdenum mine (Courtesy of Thompson Creek Metals Company, Idaho, USA)