World cobalt production in 1987 was estimated by the Bureau of Mines to be about 26,600 mt, of which market economy country (mec) production was estimated to be about 22,000 mt. Zaire and Zambia produce about 80 pct of the primary cobalt produced among mec's. Production cutbacks, declining cobalt grades, and mining curtailments in Finland and Zambia in 1987 resulted in lower production than that of 1986. The trend is expected to continue through 1988. Cobalt production from Canadian ores and from Botswana is expected to increase significantly in 1988 as a result of increased nickel production. Mec production in 1988 is estimated to be 22,100 mt, only slightly higher than that of 1987. There are currently no primary cobalt mines. Virtually all cobalt is recovered as a byproduct of copper and/or nickel mining. Zaire, which produces cobalt as a byproduct of copper, is the world's largest cobalt producer, with over 50 pct of total estimated world cobalt production and nearly 65 pct of mec production. Zambia follows with about 14 pct and 17 pct, respectively. Zambia's cobalt production also results from copper production.
Paper in Extractive Metallurgy of Nickel & Cobalt, Metall. Soc., 1988, PP. 13-19