Top 10 Cobalt Producing Countries in the World

Cobalt Blue in powdered form
Top 10 Cobalt Producing Countries in World/Image Source: Cobalt Blue (Wikipedia)

Cobalt has emerged as a highly sought-after metal, driven primarily by the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs). As the shift towards clean technologies continues, the demand for cobalt, along with other key raw materials such as lithium and graphite, is expected to rise. In this article, we will explore the top cobalt-producing countries and their contribution to global cobalt supply.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The DRC dominates global cobalt production, accounting for approximately 70 percent of the world's supply. The country's cobalt production increased from 98,000 metric tons (MT) in 2020 to 120,000 MT in 2021. With its abundant cobalt reserves and low-cost mining operations, the DRC has maintained its position as the leading producer for several years.

Russia is the second-largest cobalt producer, although its output declined from 9,000 MT in the previous year to 7,600 MT in 2021. Despite having significant cobalt reserves of 250,000 MT, Russia still lags behind the DRC in terms of production.

Australia ranks third in cobalt production, with 5,600 MT in 2021. Most of Australia's cobalt is obtained as a by-product of copper and nickel mining operations. The country's cobalt reserves, totaling 140,000 MT, are the second-largest globally.

The Philippines is the fourth-largest cobalt producer, with a consistent output of 4,500 MT. Alongside cobalt, the country is also a major player in nickel production.

Canada climbed to become the fifth-largest cobalt producer in 2021, with an output of 4,300 MT. Cobalt production in Canada is primarily associated with large nickel and copper mines, where cobalt is a by-product. Major deposits such as Kidd Creek, Sudbury, and Raglan contribute to Canada's cobalt supply.

Cuba saw a slight increase in cobalt production in 2021, reaching 3,900 MT. The country's cobalt reserves are found in the Moa region, alongside nickel deposits.

Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea produced 3,000 MT of cobalt in 2021, as a by-product of nickel production. Despite its small size, the country plays a notable role in cobalt supply.

Madagascar produced approximately 2,500 MT of cobalt in 2021, with much of it coming from the Ambatovy nickel-cobalt mine. The country is also a significant producer of graphite, another important battery metal.

Morocco's cobalt production reached 2,300 MT. While its output is relatively smaller compared to other top producers, Morocco contributes to the global cobalt supply chain.

Although China ranks 10th in terms of unrefined cobalt production, it leads the world in refined cobalt production, accounting for 70 percent of global supply. China primarily relies on imports from the DRC to meet its cobalt demand, with the majority going into its rechargeable battery industry.

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