Morocco should build on its strategic metals to achieve industrial sovereignty

Morocco should build on its strategic metals to achieve industrial sovereignty

Rich in phosphates and cobalt deposits, Morocco is poised to attract investments in the fields of electric batteries and environment-friendly vehicles as it pushes to achieve industrial sovereignty and expands high-tech manufacturing.

The country’s officials have on multiple occasions mentioned an active quest to attract investors to build a gigafactory that will lure other EV manufacturers and car part makers to the country.

This comes at a context the EU, Morocco’s largest auto-industry market, prepares for total shift to electric vehicles starting from 2035.

Morocco’s growing automotive sector, which has topped Morocco’s industrial exports with 10 billion dollars in 2022, should therefore prepare the ground for its transformation in line with the market’s future requirements.

The country’s mining sector could help make the transition easier by fostering Morocco’s competitive edge. The availability of high-quality cobalt and phosphates could offer investors cost-effectiveness.

Morocco could also easily import lithium- another key metal for EV batteries- in view of its good commercial ties with exporting countries such as the DRC and Chile.

Morocco’s largest mining company Managem is already operating a factory in Guemassa to produce sulfate cobalt as it also has prospects elsewhere in the country for cobalt and other rare metals.

Renault and BMW have already started sourcing cobalt from Managem’s mines to supply their EV battery plants.

Morocco’s cobalt enjoys high purity, unlike in the DRC where the metal is extracted as a byproduct of mostly copper.

In a recent report, Morocco’s social and economic council (CESE) said the country had 7 of the world’s 24 most strategic and rare metals, key to high-tech industries.

The report urged the government to develop plans to transform these metals at home instead of exporting them raw, to the exception of cobalt and phosphates.

These metals are also vital for Morocco’s quest to achieve its industrial sovereignty.

The mining sector’s output rose to 40.5 million tons in 2021, including 38 million tons of phosphates. The sector accounts for 10% of Morocco’s GDP and 26% of its exports and employs 50,000 people, according to the report.

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