Life Cycle Assessment

The Cobalt Institute (CI) completed the cobalt Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study in 2015, and this is the first of its kind of the cobalt sector. It has generated an industry-supported cradle-to-gate life cycle inventory (LCI) and impact assessment results for refined cobalt. The LCI data has been produced to support downstream users of refined cobalt in their efforts to produce more sustainable products. The work demonstrates the industry’s continued commitment to support the sustainable production and use of cobalt.

The CI is interested to promote the wide dissemination and uptake of the cobalt LCI data, which has now been incorporated into several of the mainstream LCA databases. The CI is pleased to make its LCI data available to those organisations involved in LCA studies that follow ISO standards on LCA, as well as the multi-metallic harmonised LCA guidance.

Please note that the cobalt LCI dataset describes production of cobalt metal products. Therefore LCA practitioners should take appropriate steps if choosing to use this data in LCA studies for cobalt chemicals or cobalt-containing products.

Organisations can request a copy of the summary report for the Cobalt LCA study (CDI 2016) by email ( ). The cobalt data has already been incorporated into several of the LCA databases, and can be viewed on the EPLCA, [ ].

However if necessary, organisations can request a copy of the Cobalt LCI data (Excel file format) from the CI using the on-line Google Request Form and by sending an email request (

The CI has started an update to the cobalt LCA study, and it expects to develop the updated LCA dataset for refined cobalt metal by end-2021, along with several new LCA datasets describing cobalt chemicals. These new datasets are needed to examine environmental profiles for cobalt-containing products and cobalt-dependent technologies, within the circular economy and for the energy transition (EV batteries, etc.). The number of studies requiring access to good quality LCA data on cobalt metal and also cobalt chemicals is growing exponentially.