Cobalt mine production in the Democratic Republic of Congo 2008-2019

In 2019, mine production of cobalt in the DR Congo totaled some 100,000 metric tons. In recent years, the global production of cobalt has exceed consumption, which has led to decreased prices of the mineral. DR Congo is the world's largest producer of cobalt from mines.

Cobalt from the DR Congo

Cobalt is a silver-grey, hard and lustrous metal that is only found in the Earth’s crust in chemically combined form. Cobalt is therefore primarily mined as a byproduct of nickel and copper mining. From there, cobalt is produced by reductive smelting. It is primarily used in lithium-ion batteries, which are needed for electric devices such as laptops and electric cars. Since the 1960s, the world’s cobalt mine production has been focused in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today, about 60 percent of the global cobalt resources come from the DRC.

Congolese mining industry: hard & hazardous labor

Artisanal and small-scale mining operations employ about 12.5 million Congolese. Of those people, most are involved in nickel, copper, and cobalt mining. Children aged 15 and older are legally allowed to do light work in DR Congo. However, half of the children working in the cobalt-producing mines in DR Congo perform hard, hazardous labor. Adults and children involved in this industry there work in dangerous environments, often without protective equipment. This has been known to lead to respiratory and skin problems, as well as life-threatening accidents as a result of insufficient safety measures.

Mine production of cobalt in DR Congo from 2008 to 2019

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Release date

February 2020


Democratic Republic of the Congo

Survey time period

2008 to 2019

Supplementary notes

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

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Statistics on "Cobalt"

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