Country sources of U.S. cobalt imports 2015-2018

This statistic shows the percent distribution of cobalt imports into the United States between 2015 and 2018, sorted by country of origin. During these years, Norway accounted for 17 percent of cobalt imports into the United States.

U.S. cobalt imports

Approximately 11 percent of U.S. cobalt imports are from China and about 17 percent from Norway. Cobalt imports into the United States totaled about 13,600 metric tons in 2019. Exports accounted for about 4,000 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 100,000 metric tons in 2019, in comparison to Australia’s total production of 5,100 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 10,000 metric tons in 2054. 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 2015 and 2018, by country of origin

Percentage of U.S. imports
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Release date

February 2020


United States

Survey time period

2015 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Cobalt contained in metal, oxide, and salts.

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Statistics on "Cobalt"

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