Vale recovers cobalt as a by-product from processing our Canadian ore bodies. The refined cobalt is marketed as an electrolytic metal or an intermediate product to key industry sectors such as superalloys, used for aerospace and land-based based turbine components as well as the manufacture of cobalt based chemicals.
Cobalt is a grey metal that is rarely used as a structural material in the pure form, but almost always as a component of an alloy.
Cobalt imparts unique properties to these alloys that serve to improve high temperature strength and oxidation, wear resistance, and magnetic effects. Cobalt is also used for producing the “cobalt blue” coloring effect for paints, enamels, etc.
Global demand for cobalt continue to grow as this material is being used widely to manufacture critical alloys for aircraft, chemicals for lithium ion batteries and catalysts, as well as, hard facing tools and magnets.
In 2007, approximately 22% of cobalt is consumed by the battery and another 22% for superalloys.
© Vale 2010
Last Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012