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Cobalt nanoparticles on the surface of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite have been studied by atomic force microscopy. Thermal annealing in ultrahigh vacuum was used to change the size of cobalt nanoparticles and their surface distribution. The effect of two key parameters, annealing time and temperature, on the size and the surface distribution of nanoparticles has been studied. The dependence of the particle size on these parameters has been obtained. It has been shown that the main mechanism of the nanoparticle growth is Ostwald ripening.