Cobalt - mine production by major countries 2014-2019

The leading country in worldwide cobalt mine production in 2019 was the Democratic Republic of Congo, having produced an estimated 100,000 metric tons that year.

Cobalt Industry

Cobalt is a hard, lustrous metal that is only found in Earth’s crust. It was first discovered in 1735 by Swedish chemist Georg Brandt. Cobalt is used in electroplating to combat surface oxidation. It is also used to form alloys. Fundamentally, it is a byproduct of mining nickel, silver, lead, copper, and iron. Compounds of cobalt have also been used to color porcelain, glass, pottery, and tile due to the blue color it produces.

Mining in the DRC and Worldwide

The mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the most lucrative and essential part of the DRC economy. It is their largest source of export income. In 2019, the worldwide mine production of cobalt amounted to 140,000 metric tons. The DRC accounted for nearly two thirds of that amount, making them the world's largest cobalt producer by a large margin. Despite having the largest reserves of cobalt as well as other minerals in the world, the DRC still suffers from poverty and corruption. DRC’s mine production of cobalt has nearly tripled since 2008.

Major countries in worldwide cobalt mine production from 2014 to 2019

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

2015 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Estimated.
** Overseas territory of France.
This statistic was assembled using several editions of the report.

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