Cobalt is found in the Earth’s crust in a form combined with other elements. A process known as smelting is required to free this hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal from other elements. Most often, cobalt is a byproduct of copper and nickel mining.
Demand for cobalt is increasing as it has significant value as an ‘energy metal’. About half of the cobalt produced is for use in rechargeable batteries for portable electronics, electric vehicles, and stationary storage cells. A smart phone contains five to 50 grams of cobalt while an electric vehicle contains four to 30 kilograms cobalt.
Cobalt-lithium-ion batteries are known for their superior energy, performance, and charge life.
Blue pigments of this element have been used for jewellery and paints and to tint glass. Other uses include superalloys, magnets, hard metals, catalysts, agriculture and food additives.