A significant new ore deposit of molybdenum and rhenium has been announced by Ivanhoe Australia. The Merlin Mo-Re deposit is located in western Queensland, Australia, south of Cloncurry. The deposit is said to be worth $6 billion Australian. The core sample shown on a download contains 2.25 % Mo and 29 g/t of Re, according to the company.  The principal ore is Molybdenite, or molybdenum sulfide.

Ivanhoe claims the advantages of the ore stem from the high grade and shallow depth. High grade ore requires a smaller refining facility. Ivanhoe says that its rhenium is not a byproduct.

Climax Molybdenum, a Freeport-McMoRan company, is also a producer of rhenium products. Climax Molybdenum operates the Climax mine on Freemont Pass near Leadville, Colorado, and the Henderson Mine near Empire, Colorado.

The geochemical association of Mo and Re is apparently not limited to a unique location. Molybdenum deposits at Ivanhoe, Climax, and Copaquire all have associated rhenium.  Rhenium products such as rhenium pellets and ammonium perrhenate are supplied by Climax Molybdenum in addition to a variety of metallic moly and moly chemicals.

International PBX operates the Copaquire Mo-Re-Cu porphyry project in northern Chile.  The company estimates that 47,000 to 60,000 lbs of indicated rhenium reside in their part of the district. According to PBX announcement, the indicated moly is between 203 and 253 million lbs and indicated copper lies between 364 and 563 millions lbs. The company is quick to point out that 25 % of the deposit is above ground in a mountain.

As of 2005 the three leading producers of rhenium were Chile, Kazakhstan, and the USA, with the USA having the largest known reserves. How the Australian find will alter this distribution is unclear at this time. The estimated rhenium trade in 2005 was $32 million.

Rest Stop on Freemont Pass at Entrance to Climax Mine

Rest Stop on Freemont Pass at Entrance to the Climax Mine


View of Climax Mine (Copyright 2009 All rights reserved)

View of Climax Mine (Copyright 2009 All rights reserved)

The above photo of the Climax mine shows a processing building with what remains of Bartlett Mountain behind it. In fact there is a considerable lode of moly remaining in the mine.