Cobalt is not an abundant elements but is widely diffused in rocks, sea and mineral waters, coal, meteorites, the sun and stellar atmospheres, soils, plants and animals. Relatively little cobalt ore is mined for the cobalt content, and most of the metal is recovered as a by-product of ores treated for their copper or nickel content.

The most common minerals containing chromium are carrollite, smaltite, cobaltite, asbolite, heterogenite and erythrite. These minerals are found and extracted in the Zimbabwe, Germany, Canada, Morocco and Australia.