Cobaltite from Sweden
Category Sulfide mineral
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 02.EB.25
Crystal system Orthorhombic, pseudocubic.
Space group Orthorhombic mm2
Unit cell a = 5.582 Å, b = 5.582 Å, c = 5.582 Å; Z = 4
Color Reddish silver white, violet steel gray to black
Crystal habit Granular to massive, rarely as striated crystals
Twinning About [111] creating pseudo-cubic forms and striations
Cleavage Perfect on {001}
Fracture Uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 5.5
Luster Metallic
Streak Grayish-black
Diaphaneity Opaque
Density 6.33 g/cm³
References [1][2]

Cobaltite is a sulfide mineral composed of cobalt, arsenic and sulfur, CoAsS. It contains up to 10 percent iron and variable amounts of nickel.[3] Structurally it resembles pyrite (FeS2) with one of the sulfur atoms replaced by an arsenic atom.

Although rare, it is mined as a significant source of the strategically important metal cobalt. Secondary weathering incrustations of erythrite, hydrated cobalt arsenate, are common.

The name is from the German, Kobold, "underground spirit" in allusion to the "refusal" of cobaltiferous ores to smelt as they are expected to.[4]

It occurs in high temperature hydrothermal deposits and contact metamorphic rocks. It occurs in association with magnetite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, skutterudite, allanite, zoisite, scapolite, titanite, calcite along with numerous other Co–Ni sulfides and arsenides.[1] It was described as early as 1832.[2]

It is found chiefly in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Cornwall, England, Canada, Australia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Morocco.[1][3]


  1. 1 2 3 Mineral Handbook
  2. 1 2 Webmineral data
  3. 1 2 Klein, Cornelus and Cornrlius Hurlbut, 1996, Manual of Mineralogy, 20th ed., Wiley, p.288, ISBN 0-471-80580-7
  4. Mindat
Cubic Cobaltite, 1.6 x 1.4 x 1.1 cm, Brazil Lake Occurrence (Elizabeth Lake Mine), Sudbury District, Ontario, Canada
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