Cobalt

Cobalt occurs in copper and nickel minerals and in combination with sulfur and arsenic in the sulfidic cobaltite (CoAsS), safflorite (CoAs2) and skutterudite (CoAs3) minerals.

Cobalt (Co) is a hard and lustrous metal and is mainly obtained as a by product of nickel and copper mining activities. Cobalt is used in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant, and high-strength alloys. Cobalt occurs in copper and nickel minerals and in combination with sulfur and arsenic in the sulfidic cobaltite (CoAsS), safflorite (CoAs2) and skutterudite (CoAs3) minerals.

Smalte (cobalt silicate glass) and cobalt blue (cobalt aluminate, CoAl2O4) gives a distinctive deep blue color to glass, ceramics, inks, paints, and varnishes. Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a tracer and in the production of gamma rays for industrial use Cobalt, in small quantities, can be found in many rocks, plants and animals, as well as within soil.

The identified cobalt resources in the world total about 15 million tons with the majority found in Australia, Canada, DRC, Russia, and Zambia. Cobalt occurs in various metallic-lustered ores, for example cobaltite (CoAsS), but is mainly produced as a by-product of copper and nickel mining. The copper belt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia yields most of the cobalt mined worldwide. The United States uses about one-third of total world consumption.

The mineral cattierite is similar to pyrite and occurs together vaesite in the copper deposits in the Katanga Province.

Cobalt is an essential metal used widely in industry for use in Aloys,pigmentation and colouring catalysts and increasingly in the electric vehicle and transportation market where it is a key component of batteries, as well as being widely used in the electronics sector.

The Cobalt Development Institute www.thecdi.com, is a leading authority on the cobalt market. Cobalt is a traded and quoted metal on the London Metal Exchange www.lme.com The price of cobalt has risen significantly over the last couple of years and is currently trading at over $55,000 per metric tonne.