Molybdenum (Greek molybdos: lead) is not found free in nature, and molybdenite was confused with graphite and lead ore. Carl Wilhelm Scheele was first able to recognized molybdenite as a distinct ore of a new element and isolate molybdenum oxide from molybdenum in 1778. Hjelm obtained an impure extract of the metal by reducing the oxide with carbon in 1782.
Besides molybdenite, Wulfenite, and Powellite are also minor commercial ores. The metal is prepared from the powder made by the hydrogen reduction of purified molybdic trioxide or ammonium molybdate. About half of the world’s molybdenum is mined in the United States.