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Alex Webb, 1983
Alex Webb, 1983
This Alex Webb photo from Fortune's April 4, 1983, issue shows a truck about to dump colbalt ore in an open-pit mine in Zaire, a country the magazine labeled the "Saudi Arabia of cobalt."

In 1983, the U.S. produced no cobalt, "a heat and abrasion-resistant metal used in jet engines and vital to national defense," the magazine's article explained. The story predicted that if the U.S. were to mine cobalt, the mineral would cost $20 per lb., compared to the $5 Zairian cobalt cost. The U.S. still produces no cobalt.

NEXT: Jeff Jacobson, 2002

Last updated June 26 2009: 1:52 PM ET
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