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Content distribution of Cobalt
Nov 22, 2017

Content distribution of Cobalt

The average content of cobalt in the crust is 0.001% (mass), and the total amount of cobalt in the ocean is about 2.3 billion tons. There are nearly 100 kinds of cobalt minerals in nature, but there is no single cobalt mineral, mostly associated with nickel, copper, iron, Lead, zinc, silver, manganese, and other sulfide deposits, and low cobalt content. The world has proven reserves of 1.48 million tons of cobalt, China has proven reserves of only 470,000 tons of cobalt metal. Distributed in 24 provinces (regions), including Gansu, Qinghai, Shandong, Yunnan, Hubei, Qinghai, Hebei and Shanxi. The combined reserves of these seven provinces account for 71% of the total national reserves, of which Gansu has the largest reserves, accounting for 28% of the national total. In addition, Anhui, Sichuan, Xinjiang and other provinces (regions) also have some reserves. The world cobalt production reached a peak of 30,000 tons in 1986, and then dropped continuously until 1989, only about 25,000 tons. Zaire and Zambia are the largest producers of cobalt, accounting for about 70% of the world's total output.

A total of more than 100 kinds of cobalt minerals and cobalt-containing minerals have been found in nature, belonging to the simple substance, carbide, nitride, phosphide and silicon phosphide, arsenide and sulfur arsenide, antimony and sulfur antimonide, telluride and Selenium tellurides, sulfides, selenides, oxides, hydroxides and hydrated oxide hydroxides, arsenates, carbonates and silicates and other 14 categories. Among them, most of the sulfides, arsenides and sulfur arsenic compounds are the main cobalt minerals: Co ₃S₄, CuCo₂S₄, CoAsS, CoAs ₂, 3CoO • As 2 O 5 • 8H 2 O). There are three forms of cobalt in nature: (1) an independent cobalt mineral, (2) an isomorphism or inclusion exists in a mineral, (3) an adsorbed form exists on some mineral surfaces, of which the second is most prevalent . Cobalt present in pyroxene, olivine, magnetite and chromite with isomorphism or microscopic inclusions can not be utilized, whereas those present in pyrite and pyrrhotite can be utilized. The presence of cobalt in the sulfide minerals and sulfur arsenide minerals in the mineral isomorphism or micro-inclusions in iron ores requires the addition of flotation processes to recover them, whereas in the copper-nickel ores it is not necessary to add additional The beneficiation process, which is selected together with nickel and recovered from smelting nickel slag, results in less costly cobalt extraction from the slag. Cobalt, which is in adsorption form, can not be used by industry. Manganese nodules in the world ocean are rich in cobalt and may become the main mineral raw material for the production of cobalt in the next century. 

In 2004, the world's cobalt production was 52,400 tons, of which 16,000 tons were mined in the Congo, 10,000 tons in Zambia, 6,700 tons in Australia, 5,200 tons in Canada and 4,700 tons in Russia. China has proven that the largest cobalt reserves are associated cobalt in the Jinchuan sulphide nickel mine in Gansu. Nickel silicate ore in Yunnan and Sichuan, Shandong, Hubei, Shanxi, Guangdong and other places also contain cobalt pyrite. The amount of cobalt metal resources in China is about 1.4 million tons, with the vast majority of associated resources and very few cobalt deposits alone. China cobalt ore grade is lower, both as mine by-products recycling, production process due to the low grade, the production process is complex, so low metal recovery, high production costs. In 1996, China produced 229 tons of cobalt metal (cobalt content), 192 tons of cobalt and sulfur concentrate (cobalt content), and 638 tons of cobalt oxide. The annual consumption of cobalt in China stabilized around 1200t around 2005, and domestic cobalt output, including cobalt oxide, converted into cobalt totaled about 600-700t per year. Domestic cobalt production can not meet domestic demand yet, and about half of the annual domestic consumption needs to be imported.

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