Molybdenum has the sixth-highest melting point of any element. It readily forms hard, stable carbides in alloys, and for this reason most of world production of the element (about 80%) is in making many types of steel alloys, including high strength alloys and superalloys.  Estimated fractional global industrial use of molybdenum is structural steel 35%, stainless steel 25%, chemicals 14%, tool & high-speed steels 9%, cast iron 6%, molybdenum elemental metal 6%, and superalloys, 5%.

Molybdenite - MoS2
Source: Wikipedia

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Links to molybdenum supply and demand

  • International Molybdenum Association
  • Sprott Molybdenum Participation Corporation (Sprott’s bet that molybdenum, a metal used to strengthen oil pipelines, would rise, failed. He closed Sprott Molybdenum Participation Corp., a fund established in 2007, in 2009 after it lost 70 percent since inception because the metal plunged. The commodity had surged 15-fold between the end of 2000 and June 2005, prompting companies including Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. to boost production.)

RankCountryWorld Mine Production, By Country (Metric tons of contained molybdenum) in 2009
2United States47,80047800
8Russian Federation3,8003800
9Iran, Islamic Republic Of3,7003700
Year of Estimate: 2009

The USGS puts the world molybdenum resources at 19 million tonnes, with China accounting for 8,3 million tonnes. About 60% of current global molybdenum production is as a by-product of copper or gold mining. Phelps Dodge, Codelco, Rio Tinto, Grupo Mexico, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American produce molybdenum as a by-product of copper porphyry operations. The molybdenum market in 2007 was around 400 million pounds a year, and said to be growing at a minimum of 4% annually.

Sixty percent of molybdenum consumption is used for stain­less steels, super alloys or lower alloy steel. An example is a pop­ular form of stainless steel containing three to four percent molybdenum. This type of stainless steel was used to clad the exterior of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
The petroleum industry depends upon molybdenum’s complex and unique properties and the pipelines on molybdenum’s corrosive-resistance properties.