Cobalt Minerals & Applications

Cobalt is generally known for giving blue color to dyes. It shows similar properties with iron and nickel elements. It has been defined as “critical raw material” considering its high economic importance and supply risk.

Cobalt takes part in the production of cutting material, super alloys, surface coating, high speed steels and many other materials with its high melting temperature, high temperature stability. Beyond all these areas of use, cobalt is more widely known for its key role in the production of lithium-ion batteries.

It is an element whose use and value has increased in recent years. It is used in the production of abrasive tools, ornaments, batteries, mobile phones and many more.

Minerals of Cobalt

Cobalt is an element found in minerals scarce in nature. Cobalt is generally found in nature together with iron and nickel elements. Cobalt has about 70 minerals. It is found in the form of cobaltite (CoAsS) and smaltite ((Co, Ni)As2) most known minerals. Cobalt is mined most in Canada, Zaire, Zambia. However, obtaining it in pure form is very difficult due to the difficulty of separating it from other elements and requires many processes.


Reserve and Production

The total cobalt reserve in the world is approximately 7 million tons. About half of the reserves are found in Africa and the highest production is in Congo. Russia is following as second.

Copper-cobalt deposits, where cobalt is obtained as a by-product of copper production, are predominantly located in Congo and Zambia.

Cobalt (left) and Copper (right) from Congo traditional mining

Application of Cobalt

Due to its physical and chemical properties, cobalt is used in many advanced technology products today; as super alloys in jet engines, rechargeable batteries, especially in telephone-computer batteries, in stainless steel, catalysts, paint, magnets, diamond cut edges, cosmetics, glass, porcelain, textile products with its blue color, radiotherapy and prostheses.

Usage of Cobalt in Industry (2015)

Magnets are produced from the alloy of cobalt with aluminum and nickel, and metal cutting inserts are produced from other alloys. On the other hand, there is cobalt in the composition of vitamin B12 and its biological importance is high.

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