A critical constituent in the production of high-strength steel, molybdenum is renowned for its performance at high temperatures.

Molybdenum (Mo)

Molybdenum is used largely in steelmaking. When employed as an alloying agent, molybdenum is used to enhance strength, hardenability, weldability, toughness, and corrosion resistance. Molybdenum is almost always extracted as a by-product of other mineral ores, particularly copper. China is by far the largest producer and also holds the largest reserves.

Current operations are generally not associated with major ESG issues. Nevertheless, civil society groups and the media occasionally cover environmental issues associated with the molybdenum supply chain, notably in Latin America and China.

Main Uses and Attributes

Molybdenum is a transition metal with several characteristics that make it valuable, particularly its performance at high temperatures. Molybdenum has one of the highest melting points of all elements. Its thermal conductivity is also among the strongest of all elements.1

The main use of molybdenum is in steel alloys to enhance strength, hardenability, weldability, toughness, and corrosion resistance.2 It is estimated that 23 percent of mined ore is destined to make molybdenum grade stainless steel, whereas 56 percent is used for construction steel, tool and high-speed steel and cast iron. The rest is employed in specialised applications, such as in nickel alloys, and as a refractory metal in applications such as catalysts, lubricants, and pigments.3

Main Uses

  • Chemicals
  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Metal Alloys
  • Steel

Key Industries

  • Automotive
  • Construction

Key Countries

Top Producer China
Top Reserves China

Supply Chain Risk

TDi assesses Molybdenum for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.

Overall Supply Chain Resilience Risk
Strength of Association with ASM
Very Low Moderate Very High

Country Governance Risks

Molybdenum's association with countries experiencing:

Violence and Conflict
Weak Rule of Law
Poor Human Rights
Poor Environmental Governance
Very Low Moderate Very High

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