Global production of molybdenum rose 14% in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2010, according to figures released by the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA).

In 2009, 70% of production was used by the steel industry, (34% in constructional and engineering steels, 26% in stainless steels and 10% in tool and high speed steels).

80% of the Mo in stainless steels comes from recycled scrap. 316 is the chief grade containing 2-2.5%Mo while duplex stainless typically contains 3%Mo.

Mo used in engineering steels is normally below 1% and often only 0.1-0.2%, but the vast tonnages of these steels produced mean they account for 34% of Mo consumption.

China led the way in increasing production, growing by 21% to 44.8M lbs, closely followed by South America with a 19% increase, up to 29.8M lbs. In North America, the production total was 45.7M lbs, a rise of 9% . Production in other parts of the world fell by 1% in the first quarter of the year, compared to 2010.

Put alongside the usage figures for the last quarter of 2010, the first three months of 2011 show a global increase of 9%. Use rose in every region except Japan, where it fell by 10%.