Sorption of Co on bentonite has been studied by using a batch technique. Distribution coefficients (Kd) were determined for the bentonite-cobalt solution system as a function of contact time, pH, sorbent and sorbate concentration and temperature. Sorption data have been interpreted in terms of Freundlich, Langmuir and Dubinin-Radushkevich equations. Thermodynamic parameters for the sorption system have been determined at three different temperatures. The positive value of the heat of sorption, H0=22.08 kJ/mol at 298 K shows that the sorption of cobalt on bentonite is endothermic, where as the negative value of the free energy of sorption, G0=–10.75 kJ/mol at 298 K shows the spontaneity of the process. G0 becomes more negative with an increase in temperature which shows that the sorption process is more favourable at higher temperatures. The mean free energyE7.7 kJ/mol for sorption of cobalt on bentonite shows that ion-exchange is the predominant mode of sorption in the concentration range of the metal studied i.e. 0.01 to 0.3 mol/dm3. The presence of some complementary cations depress the sorption of cobalt on bentonite in the order of K+>Ca2+>Mg2+>Na+. Some organic complexing agents and natural ligands also affect the sorption of cobalt. The desorption studies with ground water at low cobalt loadings on bentonite show that about 97% metal is irreversibly sorbed.