Sulfur occurs naturally as a pure element and is used in many industries. Sulfur is also a vital nutrient for crops, animals and humans. Today’s sulfur production is a byproduct of other industrial processes such as petroleum refining. World sulfur production in 2011 was 69 million tons (Mt), with more than 15 countries each contributing more than 1 Mt. Countries producing more than 5 million tonnes are China (9.6), USA (8.8), Canada (7.1) and Russia.