Socio-Economic Value

Global Cobalt Socio-Economic Value

The Cobalt Institute is undertaking a Global Cobalt SEA (2020), expected to be completed end of 2021. The main model aims to assess the total output accounted for by cobalt and its downstream first and end uses. It will assess both the direct and indirect impact of the cobalt value chain, including via supporting industries and income effects. 

The model will aggregate data on a per-country and on a regional basis and breakdowns of output contribution by segment, as well as in the aggregate. Separate to the contribution of the cobalt value chain to overall economic output, the model would also calculate the value addition of cobalt globally. 

The Cobalt Institute has previously conducted three complementary socio-economic assessment studies to better describe the cobalt value chains in Europe.

Overall, these SEA studies illustrate the significant contribution that cobalt provides to value addition (manufacturing), employment (jobs), labor income (wages), tax revenues, and R&D (research and development) activities in Europe. The SEA findings also support the Cobalt Institute’s messaging and outreach activities with industry, policy-makers, and national agencies.

Contributions of cobalt to society and the economy

€ 3,997

million per year

The future estimated annual value of cobalt contained in final end-user products

almost 5x from €828 million per year in 2010-2017

Cobalt value addition in the EEA, 2019-28 vs 2010-2017

(million Euros average per year)

SEA studies

The first study involved consolidation of previous survey data collected (2014 to 2017) on manufacture/ import and use of cobalt compounds in Europe, into the ‘Cobalt Value Chain’ report (eftec, 2019).


The second study involved a ‘Socio-economic analysis of the cobalt industry in the EEA, 2010-2017’ (Roskill, 2019), which provides an overview of the socio-economic footprint attributable to the production, use, and recycling of cobalt metal and chemicals within the EEA. The SEA model developed for the EEA considers the mined and refined production of cobalt, chemical conversions, and direct use of cobalt in applications such as alloys, batteries, etc., as well as end use in manufacturing sectors and products such as aerospace engines, electric vehicles, etc. In this way the SEA model study assesses both the direct effects relating to the economic activities of the producing companies, and the indirect effects related to the downstream and supporting industries. 



The third study involves a ‘Scenario-based socio-economic analysis (SEA) of the cobalt industry in the EEA’ (Roskill 2020) and presents forecasts (2018 to 2028) that consider the growing demand for cobalt in battery applications for mobility (electric vehicles), and the importance of the recycling of cobalt-containing products at the end of life.