2013 - The World's Biggest Molybdenum Mine Producers
According to the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA), molybdenum production reached a new high of 539.2 million pounds (or about 245 million kilos) in 2013.
The ten largest molybdenum producers accounted for over 60 percent of this total.
While most producers extract molybdenum as a by-product from copper mines, four of the ten companies listed are considered primary molybdenum producers.
The statistics below are compiled from company annual and operation reports available from producer websites (based on individual corporate fiscal year 2013 production numbers).
Production numbers for each company, indicated as total molybdenum content extracted, can be found beside the company's name and are indicated in metric tons (MT).
Freeport-McMoran - 47,000MT
Freeport McMoran accounted for 47,000MT of molybdenum production in 2013, or nearly 20 percent of global production. The company's centerpiece molybdenum asset is the Climax Mine, located in Climax Colorado, which first opened in 1918 and is the world's largest, highest grade and lowest cost producing molybdenum mine. Freeport-McMoran also operates the Henderson molybdenum mine in Colorado and extracts moly as a by-product from other sites in North and South America.
Chilean state-owned copper miner Codelco, was the world's second largest molybdenum producer in 2013, refining roughly 23,000 metric tons. Based solely in Chile, key molybdenum mines include Salvador, Andina, and El Teniente. Molybdenum sales accounted for US$ 493 million in sales for the year.
Grupo Mexico is the largest Mexican mining corporation in Mexico, operating 13 mines in the US, Mexico, and Peru. The company's most important molybdenum assets include the Cuajone and Toquepala mines in Peru and the La Caridad mine and processing plant in Mexico.
China Molybdenum is China's largest molybdenum producer, accounting for about 20 percent of national production and roughly 6 percent of global production. Based in Luoyang, Henan Province, China, the company's molybdenum assets include the Shangfanggou, Sandaozhuang, and Xinjiang mines.
Thompson Creek Metals is a molybdenum-focussed Canadian mining company with operations in Canada and the USA. In 2013, its molybdenum production accounted for over 13,000MT. Molybdenum was mined from the Endako (British Columbia, Canada) and Thompson Creek (Idaho, USA) mines and processed at the Langeloth Metallurgical Facility in Pensylvania.
Jinduicheng Molybdenum (or 'JDC Moly') is China's second largest molybdenum producer, accounting for an estimated 13,300MT in 2013. The Jinduicheng open-pit mine is one of the six biggest primary open-pit moly mines in the world and has proven molybdenum reserves of 1 billion tons. The company employs a staff of over 5000 and has registered capital of over 3 billion renminbi.
Chilean copper producer Antofagasta produced 9,000MT of molybdenum as a by-product from its Los Pelambres mine in 2013. It represented a 35 percent decrease over 2012. The company has a 60 percent ownership stake in the Las Pelambres mine, which is located in Chile’s Coquimbo Region, 240 km north of Santiago.
In 2013, Rio Tinto produced 5,700MT of molybdenum from its Bingham Canyon mine, located southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. Operated by Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, the Bingham Canyon mine is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. Production declined 40 percent from 2012 due to a massive landslide closed the mine in April of 2013.
Anglo American - 4,700MT (est.)
Anglo American has interests in two molybdenum-producing copper mines in Chile, which accounted for roughly 4,700MT of the metal, in concentrate, in 2013. Anglo American own's a 50.1 percent stake in the 150-year-old Los Bronces copper-molybdenum mine northeast of Santiago, which received a US$ 2.8 billion upgrade in 2011, as well as 100 percent of the Collahuasi open pit mine. Molybdenum production from Collahuasi declined 70% over 2012, reducing Anglo's total molybdenum production by roughly 4.5MT from the previous year.
Teck produced 3,780MT of molybdenum in concentrate in 2013, a 35 percent decline from 2012. Three-quarters of this total came from the company's 97.5 percent in the Highland Valley Copper Mine, located in south central British Columbia, Canada. The remaining production was accounted for by Teck's 22.5 percent stake in the Antamina mine in Peru.