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Quantities Of Molybdenum Produced By Major Mines / Western Countries In First Half / 09
= Produced 112 Million Lbs. Of Mo As Decreased By 18% Compared To That In Same Period / 08
The quantities of molybdenum in molybdenum concentrate produced by seven major molybdenum mining companies in the western countries for the first half (January - June) of 2009 (on the basis of settlement of accounts released by these seven companies) were as per the table attached hereto.

Namely, the total quantity of molybdenum in concentrate produced by seven major companies in the first half of 2009 was 112.17 million lbs. on Mo content base, having decreased by about 18% compared with that (137.33 million lbs.) in the same period of 2008. For a reference, the total output of molybdenum by seven major companies in the western countries for the first half of 2009 had shared approximately 95% of the whole.

This sharp decline in molybdenum production for the first half of 2009 was the countermeasures to cope with a sudden decrease of the global demand for molybdenum caused by a crisis of the world economy arisen from October of 2008 and, as a matter of fact, Freeport-McMoRan of the USA, as the largest producer of molybdenum in the world, had decreased their molybdenum production by 25% in the first half of 2009, because their Henderson primary molybdenum reduced the output by 35%. In line with the countermeasures for a depression of economy, even Codelco of Chile, operating copper - molybdenum complex mine, had mined mainly crude ore with lower content of Mo and, consequently, their output of molybdenum in the first half of 2009 supposedly decreased by 29% as an estimation. (Codelco does not release yet their settlement of accounts for April - June quarter of 2009.)

On the other hand, Thompson Creek Metals of the USA had a substantial increase of their molybdenum production in the first half of 2009. This company already launched from December of 2008 to export molybdenum for China and their active exports of molybdenum for China played the main role of compensating the decreased sales for other countries.

In view of a crisis of the world economy, the demand for molybdenum from the western countries in 2009 was initially anticipated to have a decrease of 30% from that in 2008. Therefore, major molybdenum mines implemented from the beginning of 2009 a considerable reduction in molybdenum production but, owing to an unexpected and sudden appearance of the demand to export molybdenum for China, these major molybdenum mines have determined to loosen their cutback of molybdenum production from April - June quarter of 2009. Nevertheless, part of major molybdenum mines have still kept the structure to decrease substantially their molybdenum production and, accordingly, the world production of molybdenum in the first half of 2009 had a decline of 18% from that in the same period of 2008. It is marked how extent do major mines increase their molybdenum production in the second half of 2009.

The net quantity (a difference between imports and exports) of molybdenum imported by China from the western countries in the first half of 2009 was 36 million lbs. on Mo content base, having shared about 30% of the estimated consumption by the western world, and, from this point of view, the positive imports of molybdenum by China in the first half of 2009 are thought to have had a substantial effect to underpin the decreased demand for molybdenum in the western countries.

Spot price of molybdenum oxide had bottomed out by US$7.70 per lb. of Mo in the middle of April of 2009 and turned to rise. The current price of molybdenum oxide is US$18.30 per lb. of Mo, approaching a level of US$20. The background, having rebounded price of molybdenum oxide, is an improvement in the consumption of molybdenum in China as mentioned above. Since prices of molybdenum products have risen steeply in the international market, a power to import more molybdenum into China has weakened somewhat but a basic tone to continue active imports of molybdenum by China is being still suggested for this year.

In spite of the fact that China has been still importing molybdenum with the largest quantity in its history, the Central Government of China has maintained the regulations for exports of molybdenum products from China with their basic aim to preserve domestically natural resources. Also, in order to put this policy in practice, it is taking a long time to check the circumstances for environmental pollution required to reopen molybdenum mines in China. The constitution, which Chinese steel companies prefer to use high quality molybdenum produced in the western countries and chemical producers in China rely on chemical grade molybdenum supplied from the western sources, has to be marked. It is forecasted that China, where has become the largest country in the world to consume molybdenum by exceeding the substantial consumption of molybdenum in Europe, will still continue to import molybdenum from overseas sources.
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last modified : Tue 25 Aug, 2009 [10:57]
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