Gmelinite-(Na), Molybdenite 1.7×1.8×1.3 cm Mont Saint-Hilaire Quebec, Canada Copyright © David K. Joyce Minerals

Chemical Formula: MoS2
Locality: Common world wide occurrences.
Name Origin: Greek, molybdos = “lead.”

Molybdenite is a mineral of molybdenum disulfide, MoS2. Similar in appearance and feel to graphite, molybdenite has a lubricating effect that is a consequence of its layered structure. The atomic structure consists of a sheet of molybdenum atoms sandwiched between sheets of sulfur atoms. The Mo-S bonds are strong, but the interaction between the sulfur atoms at the top and bottom of separate sandwich-like tri-layers is weak, resulting in easy slippage as well as cleavage planes. Molybdenite crystallizes in the hexagonal crystal system as the common polytype 2H and also in the trigonal system as the 3R polytype.


Molybdenite occurs in high temperature hydrothermal ore deposits. Its associated minerals include pyrite, chalcopyrite, quartz, anhydrite, fluorite, and scheelite. Important deposits include the disseminated porphyry molybdenum deposits at Questa, New Mexico and the Henderson and Climax mines in Colorado. Molybdenite also occurs in porphyry copper deposits of Arizona, Utah, and Mexico.

The element rhenium is always present in molybdenite as a substitute for molybdenum, usually in the parts per million (ppm) range, but often up to 1–2%. High rhenium content results in a structural variety detectable by X-ray diffraction techniques. Molybdenite ores are essentially the only source for rhenium. The presence of the radioactive isotope rhenium-187 and its daughter isotope osmium-187 provides a useful geochronologic dating technique.

Optical properties

Optical and misc. Properties : Opaque
Reflective Power: 20,9-44,4% (580)

Physical Properties

Cleavage: {0001} Perfect
Color:     Black, Lead gray, Gray.
Density: 5.5
Diaphaneity: Opaque
Fracture: Sectile – Curved shavings or scrapings produced by a knife blade, (e.g. graphite).
Hardness: 1 – Talc
Luminescence: Non-fluorescent.
Luster: Metallic
Magnetism: Nonmagnetic
Streak: greenish gray

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Photos :

Molybdenite Wutong Mine, Wuzhou Prefecture, Guangxi, China Specimen weight:10 gr. Crystal size:10 mm Overall size: 22mm x 22 mm x 10 mm © minservice
Molybdenite 9.9×6.3×6.5 cm Moly Hill Mine Riviere Heva Quebec, Canada Copyright © David K. Joyce Minerals
Molybdenite Crown Point Mine, Chelan County, Washington, USA Small Cabinet, 9 x 6.4 x 4.1 cm © irocks