Figures released by the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) this month show increases in the global production and use of molybdenum, compared to the same quarter in 2017. Figures for the first quarter of 2018 show global production at 137.5 million pounds, an increase of 6%, and global use at 141.6 million pounds, an increase of 5%, compared with the same period in 2017.
South America overtook China to become the biggest producer, with 48 million pounds in the first quarter of 2018. Although this represented a fall of 6% from the previous quarter, it is 11% higher compared with the first quarter of 2017. Production in China also fell to 46.6 million pounds, down 14% from the previous quarter, but an increase of 2% from the same period in 2017. Production in North America was lower at 32.8 million pounds, a decrease of 4% from the previous quarter but an increase of 7% compared with the same quarter in 2017.
China remained the biggest user, at 48 million pounds in the first quarter of 2018, down 17% from 57.9 million pounds in the last quarter of 2017, but 4% higher than the same period in 2017. Europe was the second largest user at 36.7 million pounds, an increase of 5% from 35 million pounds in the previous quarter, and up by 2% compared to the same period in 2017.
Usage in the U.S.A. was 14.8 million pounds, up 5% from 14 million pounds in the previous quarter, and up 7% compared to the same quarter in 2017, while usage in Japan also increased, rising by 5% to 14.8 million pounds, 15% more than in the same period in 2017. Usage in the CIS countries increased fractionally to 5.1 million pounds, while usage in other countries fell by an equally small amount to 22.2 million pounds.
The International Molybdenum Association is a non-profit trade association based in London, UK. IMOA represents around 90% of mine production and almost all conversion capacity outside of China. Molybdenum is added to steels and cast irons to improve strength, toughness, hardenability, and weldability for numerous applications in the automotive, shipbuilding, construction, mining, chemical, oil & gas and energy generation industries.
Molybdenum is also used in a variety of products from catalysts and lubricants to pigments and paints.