How To Profit From Rising US Molybdenum Production
The United States is the world's second-largest molybdenum producer. In 2011, the country produced an estimated 64,000 tons of the metal, according to the US Geological Survey. China, the world's leading producer, had 94,000 tonnes of output.
When used as an additive, molybdenum makes steel harder and more heat resistant. According to the London Metal Exchange, 29 percent of global molybdenum production was used in stainless steel in 2011 while about 32 percent went into other alloys.
Molybdenum is often mined as a by-product of copper; in 2011, there were six US copper mines that also produced molybdenum and four producing it as a primary product.
US molybdenum production rose 8 percent in 2011 from 2010, and it looks to be set for further gains, thanks in part to projects like the Climax mine, located 13 miles northeast of Leadville, Colorado, which recently restarted after a 17-year shutdown.History of molybdenum mining in the US Molybdenum was first discovered in the US in 1879, when prospector Charles Senter discovered a grey, mineralized outcrop on the western slope of Bartlett Mountain in Colorado. At the time, Senter had no idea that he had found molybdenite ore, but sensing that the find might have value one day, he claimed the property, which came to be called Climax after a nearby railroad station where helper locomotives decoupled from trains after the long climb from Denver. The ore was correctly identified 16 years later, around the same time that metallurgists realized that the metal can replace tungsten as an alloying agent in steel. In 1891, French firm Schneider & Co. first used molybdenum as an alloying element in armor-plate steel. World War I further spurred demand, prompting businessman Max Schott to form Climax Molybdenum Company to mine and process the deposit on Bartlett Mountain.
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