Molybdenum is a chemical element with symbol Mo, is commonly known as “moly” and is mainly used in metallurgical applications such as alloys (86%), with the rest of molybdenum used as compounds in chemical applications. 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%. The oil industry is a large consumer of molybdenum, both in drilling equipment and pipelines, which need to be replaced at regular intervals to prevent leaking. World production has remained relatively stable at approximately 265,000 metric tonnes according to the U.S.G.S., with more than half of the production coming from China and the United States.
There is little substitution for molybdenum in its major application as an alloying element in steels and cast irons. In fact, because of the availability and versatility of molybdenum, industry has sought to develop new materials that benefit from the alloying properties of the metal.