Cobalt is a natural component of the earth’s crust and through natural environmental processes can be found in water, soil and air.
Cobalt in the form of vitamin B12 is required by animals and humans. In plants it does not appear to be required by non-legumes. It is essential for nitrogen fixation by Rhizobium and thus is indirectly required by legumes.
In practical agriculture its importance lies in the ability of different soils to supply sufficient amounts of the element for efficient nitrogen fixation by clovers on the one hand and for ruminant nutrition on the other. Soils with inherently low levels of the element are formed mainly from acid igneous rocks, e.g. granites and rhyolites, from sedimentary rocks such as sandstones and conglomerates and from metamorphic rocks as typified by quartzites, schists and gneisses. Peat soils are also inherently low in cobalt. Levels of cobalt in limestone soils .are very variable depending on the purity of the parent rock. Contents in shale soils range from low to quite high, depending on whether the shales are arenaceous (sandy) or argillaceous (clayey).
It is also widely regarded as a critical raw material fundamental to industry, essential for enabling technological development and key to a low carbon future due to its unique properties.
Cobalt is essential for bacteria and plants, as well as for animals and humans in the form of vitamin B12, only present in animal based foods ...in the form of vitamin B12. This vitamin is only present in animal-derived foods.
Innovation & Technology
Cobalt is a critical raw material which has transformed the world by enabling technological progress: it is a key element in rechargeable batteries and integrated circuits used in portable devices and electric vehicles, key for the energy transition.
Cobalt is also an essential component in the strong permanent magnets used in wind turbines and the superalloys utilized in civil/defense aerospace & automotive applications, land-based power plants and the hard metal industry.
Cobalt's high level of bio-compatibility, strength and wear resistance, among other properties makes it a suitable material for use in the replacement of human joints such as hips and knees.