Cobalt Ore is a hard ferromagnetic element that is silver-white, lustrous, and brittle. It is air-stable and does not react with water. It can be magnetized like other metals. Some of the most common cobalt ores include Cobaltite (CoAsS), Skutterudite (CoAs3) etc. Cobalt Ore is typically mined in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Canada, Russia, and Australia. The extracted ore is then processed to extract the cobalt metal.
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What is Cobalt?
The periodic table group VIII includes the element cobalt. Its physical properties are similar to those of iron and nickel. Cobalt can be found in plants and animals, as well as in air, water, soil, and rocks. It could also enter another environment via wind-blown dust or rainwater washing down cobalt-containing soil and rock. The free element is a hard, lustrous silver-grey metal produced by reductive smelting. Cobalt constitutes only 0.001% of the Earth’s crust.
The majority of the cobalt on Earth is found in its core. Cobalt is used to make parts for aircraft engines, gas turbines, high-speed steels, corrosion-resistant alloys, and cemented carbides. Magnets and magnetic recording media also contain them. Cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope, is used in medical treatment and to irradiate food. Cobalt is stable in the air and unaffected by water, but dilute acids attack it slowly.
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Cobalt Distribution in India
Cobalt has been found in the districts of various States of India which is given below in the table.
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Cobalt Distribution in World Map
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s largest producer, followed by Russia and Australia. Congo accounts for more than half of global cobalt mine output.
Cobalt Ore Uses
Cobalt is used in various industries and applications such as:
- Many alloys and superalloys contain cobalt. They are used to make parts for aircraft engines, gas turbines, high-speed steels, corrosion-resistant alloys, and cemented carbides.
- Cobalt is also used in the petroleum and chemical industries as a catalyst.
- Paints and inks use cobalt as a drying agent.
- Artists and craftspeople primarily use it in porcelain, stained-glass pottery, enamel jewellery, and tiles.
- It is also an essential mineral used for batteries in electric cars, computers, and cell phones.
Cobalt Ore Properties
Cobalt is a chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27. Some of its properties are:
- It is a hard ferromagnetic element that is silver-white, lustrous, and brittle.
- It is air-stable and does not react with water.
- It, like other metals, can be magnetised.
- It reacts slowly with dilute acids.
- The metal melts at 1495 degrees Celsius and boils at 2927 degrees Celsius.
KABIL, an Indian mining joint venture formed by state-owned companies National Aluminium Co, Hindustan Copper Ltd, and Mineral Exploration Corp Ltd, has signed a preliminary agreement with Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO). The goal is to look into lithium and cobalt mines in Australia.
Over the next six months, India has agreed to invest $6 million with the Australian government to explore lithium and cobalt mines in Australia. India is offering $2.4 billion in incentives to companies that build battery cells for electric vehicles in India. The agreement also allows for the inclusion of any other Indian state-run firm as an investment partner, and it is expected that the due diligence process will be completed and additional investment decisions will be made within the next six months.