The Bureau of Mines has devised technology to recover cobalt, nickel, and byproduct copper from domestic lateritic material using an oxidative, ammoniacal ammonium sulfate leach. Nickel, cobalt, and copper were recovered by solvent extraction and electrowinning. To reduce the cost and complexity of cobalt recovery, an alternate method using lignite to extract co3+ was investigated as reported herein. In the first 25 bv (bed volumes) of solution contacted with lignite, 97 wt pct of the co3+ was extracted in a downflow column of ph 9.3. After 85 bv, the lignite was loaded to 1.5 Wt pct co3+ and further extraction was minimal. The lignite extracted cobaltic ammine complexes rather than cobalt ions and was nonselective as to other metal cations and ammonium ions. Deleterious cations and 80 wt pct of the nonammine ammonium ions were removed prior to acid elution of the lignite. The removal of the ammines prior to elution to produce an ammonium-ion-free co3+ eluate was only partially successful. Thus co3+ removal from ammoniacal solutions by lignite is technically difficult and economically unfeasible. It was also determined that reduction of co3+ to co2+ occurred during the extraction-elution process.