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Production and consumption

First traded on LME: February 2010
World production: 82,200 tonnes (2011)

Cobalt is a hard, lustrous, silver-grey metal with a high melting point (1493°C), first discovered in 1739. It is sourced primarily as a by-product of copper and nickel mining and the 30th most abundant metal in the world.

Cobalt has many applications including magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength super alloys (such as those used on gas turbine blades and jet aircraft engines), catalysts, batteries, chemicals and coloured dyes. Also, Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a radioactive tracer and in the production of gamma rays.

World cobalt production 2011

Graph showing cobalt production by region 


Asia 47
Europe 24
Africa 15
America 9
Oceania 6

Source: WBMS

Industry consumption 2011

Graph showing cobalt industry usage by sector 


Market Sector%
Chemicals 58
Superalloys & Special Steel 20
Carbides & Diamond Tools 11
Magnets 7
High Speed Steel 2
Synthetic Diamonds 1

Source: CRU