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Sources of Cobalt

Cobalt is not a particularly rare metal and it ranks 33 in abundance. It is however widely scattered in the Earth's crust but is found in potentially exploitable quantities in several countries, 17 of which currently produce.

Cobalt is only extracted alone from the Moroccan and Canadian Arsenide ores. It is normally associated with copper or nickel. >50% of World production is from Africa, mainly the D.R.C, where cobalt is largely a copper by-product.

Table 1 - Where Cobalt is Mined - shows the current situation. Significant resources of cobalt are also present in the deep sea nodules and crusts which occur in the Mid-Pacific and are speculative and estimated resources of >120million tonnes of cobalt (source USGS). At a world production level of around 92,000 tonnes, this is nearly 1,400 years of usage. More realistically the current land sources are estimated at over 100 years, so no long term shortage is in sight.

Table -1 Where Cobalt is Currently Mined and/or Refined (2014)

Country
Mined
Refined
Approx. Refined Qty
Australia Yes Yes 5,400
Brazil Yes Yes 1,400
Belgium   Yes 5,850
Canada Yes Yes 5,250
China Yes Yes 39,300 (mainly imported raw material)
Cuba Yes    See Canada
France   Yes 220
Finland   Yes 11,400
India   Yes 100
Japan   Yes 3,650
Madagascar Yes Yes 2,950
Morocco Yes Yes 1,400
New Caledonia Yes    
Norway   Yes 3,600
Russia Yes Yes 2,300
South Africa Yes Yes 1,350
Uganda     0 (ceased operations 2014)
D.R.C. Yes Yes 3,300
Zambia Yes Yes 4,300
TOTAL
~92,000 (Tonnes)

 


 

    
 
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    Recording Materials
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    Catalysts

 

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