The Past and Present Situation of Cobalt Metallurgy

Discover history of cobalt metallurgy


In 1753, the Swedish chemist G. Brandt separated the pale rose-colored gray metal from cobaltite, which is the metal cobalt with higher purity. Therefore, Brandt is considered to be the discoverer of cobalt.


In 1780, Swedish chemist T. Bergman made pure cobalt and determined that cobalt was a metallic element.


In 1789, Lavoisier included it in the periodic table for the first time.


Germany and Norway first produced a small amount of cobalt, and in 1874 the cobalt oxide ore in New Caledonia was developed.


In 1903, the production of silver-cobalt ore and arsenic-cobalt ore (skutterudite) in northern Ontario, Canada began to produce, making the world's cobalt production soared from 16t in 1904 to 1553t in 1909.


After the development of the copper-cobalt ore belt in the Katanga Province of Zaire in 1920, the output of cobalt has been ranked first in the world. Morocco used arsenic-cobalt ore to produce cobalt. During this period, the main production of cobalt was fired.


After that, on the eve of World War II, Finland extracted cobalt from the cobalt-containing pyrite cinder and sent it to West Germany for chlorination roasting after the war. The Kokkola Cobalt Plant was not established until 1968. Japan, France, and Belgium have large-scale cobalt refineries that process cobalt-rich intermediate products in the Philippines, Australia, Morocco, and Zambia, respectively. The cobalt metallurgy pattern of coarse smelting in cobalt resource countries and refined cobalt-using cobalt in developed industrial countries still occupies a dominant position. Countries rich in cobalt resources have also established large-scale and complete cobalt metallurgy plants. Various wet methods have become the main method of cobalt metallurgy.


Development status of cobalt metallurgy industry


In recent years, the global output of refined cobalt has exceeded consumption, leading to oversupply and a downward trend in prices. Due to the continuous expansion of existing cobalt mines and cobalt refinery plants, new plants have been constructed and put into operation one after another. It is expected that this surplus situation cannot be reversed in the short term. China is the world's largest producer of refined cobalt. The cobalt products produced in China are mainly cobalt ore, and some refined cobalt is imported from Congo (DRC). In recent years, China has begun to consume a large amount of raw cobalt ore that it reserves during 2009-2011.


In the first half of 2014, the amount of refined cobalt available worldwide (in terms of output) increased by 10% over the previous year. With the exception of China, countries such as Finland, Japan and Madagascar have all increased their production significantly, leading to a rise in global production. At the end of December 2014, the London Stock Exchange's cobalt inventory dropped from 560 tons at the end of 2013 to 491 tons.