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Morocco wants to emphasise its leading position in the mining sector

The North African country holds 72% of the world's phosphate reserves and earns an average profit of 6.3 billion dollars
REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL - Mina de fosfato en la fábrica de Boucraa de la Compañía Nacional de Fosfatos de Marruecos (OCP) situada en las provincias del sur, a 100 km al suroeste de la ciudad de El Aaiún

REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL  -   Phosphate mine at the Boucraa factory of the Moroccan National Phosphate Company (OCP) in the southern provinces, 100 km southwest of the city of Laayoune.

It is an undeniable fact that the mining sector is at the forefront in the Moroccan area, thanks to its mineral-rich geology and its location. Because of this, in this new year they intend to increase investment in the mining sector to continue to maintain its international position and increase the attractiveness to domestic investors, but especially foreign investors, achieving a diversification of partners to achieve a higher return. With this new purpose in mind, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development of the Kingdom of Morocco has created a plan to increase state revenues from the extraction of phosphate minerals by 2030, from 730 million dollars to 1.7 billion dollars, always favouring investment and tax incentives.

Ten years ago, the Moroccan government launched a strategy to encourage the development of mining activity with the aim of creating a new dynamic of exploitation in the sector, always taking into account all phases of the mining industry such as exploration, the use of exploited minerals and subsequent marketing. Furthermore, in 2013, they implemented a strategy comprising several ambitious objectives to increase and improve the sector's productivity until 2025, including the modernisation of the legislative and regulatory framework, the restructuring of traditional mining, the increase in the rate of production and the rehabilitation of the mineral heritage.

PHOTO/PIXABAY – Vista aérea de mina
PHOTO/PIXABAY – Aerial view of mine

Political and social stability are favouring the boom in the mining sector, as well as skilled labour and good infrastructure, and the opportunity for investment by local and international companies. According to official statistics, the mining sector creates a total of 40,000 jobs both directly and indirectly and economically, the sector contributes 10% to the economy, where it contributes 80% of exports in terms of volume and 20% in terms of value. Therefore, the mining sector plays a key role in the economic development of the country, as well as the opportunity to promote the development of mining activity in the different regions of the country.

The mining sector is a capital element in the Moroccan economy, which stands out for its great geological setting and for the rich minerals that are located in this setting. Morocco is the world's largest exporter of phosphate, with 72% of the world's phosphate reserves. According to statistics from the Phosphate Company (the Sharif Office of Phosphate), the country earns $6.3 billion a year from phosphate mining. All these elements have favoured the resurgence of the national mining activity, thanks to local and foreign investments.

One of the major foreign investors is the Asian giant China. The country wants the joint venture it has with Morocco, Legatier Capital, to become a world leader in the mining sector, while respecting the use of low-emission energy and ensuring environmental protection, and has therefore decided to invest in Morocco. The company is a clear example of the great attractiveness of the mining sector. The partnership between the two countries is supported by King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The friendship between Morocco and China, and the latter's decision to invest, stems from the Moroccan king's historic visit to China in 2016, as announced by the official Moroccan news agency.

PHOTO/PIXABAY – Vista de mina
PHOTO/PIXABAY – View of mine

The mine selected for exploitation by the joint venture between the two countries is suitable for mining. The mine is estimated to contain up to 2 million tonnes of tin phosphate, but as exploration and drilling of the mine progresses, the amount is expected to increase. One of the major challenges in Morocco's new phase to maintain its global leadership in the mining sector is the need to discover new reservoirs, develop sustainable measures and the promotion of the added value of mined minerals. "Sino-Moroccan cooperation is working well. The strategic partnership between the two countries has been enriched with new contents," said Li Changlin, Chinese ambassador in the Moroccan capital.

The partnerships between Morocco and China continue to grow as the "New Silk Road", as well as the strengthening of their international relations, the increase in trust between the two countries and the good relationship between Mohamed VI and Xi Jinping, these are indicators that they are becoming two great allies.