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Country sources of U.S. cobalt imports 2016-2019

Between 2016 and 2019, Norway accounted for 20 percent of cobalt imports into the United States.

U.S. cobalt imports

Approximately 10 percent of U.S. cobalt imports are from Finland and about 20 percent from Norway. Cobalt imports into the United States totaled about 10,000 metric tons in 2020. Exports accounted for about 3,500 metric tons in the same year. The largest cobalt deposits are found in the DR Congo, Australia, and Cuba. Cobalt is primarily produced in the DR Congo, which produced 95,000 metric tons in 2020, in comparison to Australia’s total production of 5,700 metric tons. This metal is commonly produced as a by-product of nickel mining. Large nodules found at the bottom of the ocean may also hold large reserves of cobalt (as well as other transition metals).

Cobalt is mostly used as a metal to magnetize as well as in high-strength alloys. The salts from cobalt have been used for centuries for its pigments to color jewelry and paints. One of its isotopes, cobalt-60, can also be used as a radioactive tracer and to produce high energy gamma rays. In the U.S., apparent use (including secondary uses) accounted for some 8,700 metric tons in 2020. Nearly half of the metal was used for super alloys while more than a fourth was used for chemical and ceramic purposes.

Distribution of U.S. cobalt imports between 2016 and 2019, by country of origin

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Release date

February 2021


United States

Survey time period

2016 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Cobalt contained in metal, oxide, and salts.

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Statistics on "Cobalt"

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