Copper & Cobalt Facts

Copper (Cu) is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. It is of reddish colour and has the second highest electrical conductivity after silver. Copper is easily worked as it is malleable. Native copper can be found in alluvial deposits, granitic and basaltic rock.

Minerals such as the sulphides: chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), bornite (Cu5FeS4), covellite (CuS), chalcocite (Cu2S) are sources of copper, as are the carbonates: azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2) and malachite (Cu2CO3(OH)2) and the oxide: cuprite (Cu2O). Copper is mined throughout the world and the open pit mines created are the largest man-made excavations in the world.

Uses of Copper
Copper sulphate Weather protection
Wiring Coinage
Plumbing Brass
Electromagnets Gold alloys
Statues Antibacterial

Cobalt (Co) is a hard and lustrous metal and is mainly obtained as a by product of nickel and copper mining activities. Cobalt is used in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant, and high-strength alloys.

Smalte (cobalt silicate glass) and cobalt blue (cobalt aluminate, CoAl2O4) gives a distinctive deep blue color to glass, ceramics, inks, paints, and varnishes. Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a tracer and in the production of gamma rays for industrial use Cobalt, in small quantities, can be found in many rocks, plants and animals, as well as within soil.

The identified cobalt resources in the world total about 15 million tons with the majority found in Australia, Canada, DRC, Russia, and Zambia. Cobalt occurs in various metallic-lustered ores, for example cobaltite (CoAsS), but is mainly produced as a by-product of copper and nickel mining. The copper belt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia yields most of the cobalt mined worldwide. The United States uses about one-third of total world consumption. Cobalt occurs in copper and nickel minerals and in combination with sulfur and arsenic in the sulfidic cobaltite (CoAsS), safflorite (CoAs2) and skutterudite (CoAs3) minerals.

The mineral cattierite is similar to pyrite and occurs together vaesite in the copper deposits in the Katanga Province.

Uses of Cobalt
Alloys – turbine blades / dental prosthetics Paint, varnish & ink
Batteries Coloration in glass