The mineral industry is Morocco’s largest foreign exchange earning sector and usually accounts for 35% of foreign trade and about 6% of the GDP of Morocco.
Morocco’s minerals industry is dominated by phosphate mining, where it is the world’s third largest producer, after the USA and China. Other minerals produced include anthracite, antimony, barite, cobalt, copper, fluorspar, iron ore, lead, manganese, salt, silver, and zinc.
Total mine production recorded by the Ministry of Energy and Mines in 2003 was 29.39 Mt compared to 24.39 Mt in 2002. Turnover from the mining sector was recorded at DH18.3 billion, with phosphate rock sales contributing an estimated 35%, phosphate derivatives 52%, other minerals 6%, and extracted metals and other processed mineral derivatives 7%. Investment in the sector totalled DH3.2 billion, of which 6% was spent on infrastructure and social facilities, 8% went to research, 28% to mineral evaluation and 58% to exploitation.
Morocco’s mineral resource development is controlled by several state owned organisations, of which the BRPM (Bureau de Recherches et de Participations Minières) has been responsible for the development of most mineral resources found in Morocco to date. CADETAF (La Centrale d’Achat et de Développement de la Région Minière de Tafilalet et de Figuig) was formed to promote and support the interests of artisinal miners in the Tafilalet and Figuig regions. OCP (Office Cherifien des Phosphates) manages and controls all aspects of phosphate mining and beneficiation in Morocco.
The state-owned phosphates producer Groupe OCP accounts for the bulk of both mined ore and derivative products output. Metallic mineral and concentrates production is dominated by the private sector ONA Group through its mining holding company Managem. ONA is also a major shareholder in steel producer Sonasid and a partner in Lafarge Maroc, which supplies over 40% of Moroccos grey cement.
The largest private mining company in Morocco is ONA (Omnium Nord Africain). ONA has acquired all or part of several of BRPM’s mining operations and developments as part of the government’s privatisation process. ONA’s mining subsidiary, Managem has been listed on the Casablanca stock exchange and has become involved in the following base metal and gold properties:
- The polymetallic (copper – lead – zinc) Douar Hajar Mine with Cie. Minière de Guemassa (CMG). CMG have also acquired the Drâa Sfar zinc deposit in the Marrakesh region which is estimated to have a resource containing 3 Mt grading at 7% zinc, 2% lead and 0.7% copper.
- The Bleida copper mine with Société Minière du Bou Gaffer (SOMIFER)
- The cobalt mine at Bou Azzer operated by Compagnie de Tifnout Tiranimine (CTT)
- The El Hammam fluorite mine operated by Société Anonyme d’Entreprises Minières (SAMINE)
- The Lourim Gold and Akka Gold mining ventures located 280km from Agadir. Proparco, the private sector investment arm of the French Development Agency has extended a $20 million loan to help Managem finance a $70-million restructuring project in its Akka gold mine. Akka is expected to produce close on 100 000 oz gold per year at cash operating costs of between $130 – $150.
- The silver mine at Imiter operated by Société Metallurgique d’Imiter (SMI) with equity ownership by BRPM
- The Guemassa zinc mine.
Compagnie Miniere de Touissit, Office Cherifien des Phosphates, Sopri, Bureau de Recherches et de Participations Minières, Charbonnages Nord Africains, Cie de Tifnout et Tiranimine, Cie Minière de Guemassa, Compagnie de Tifnout Tiranimine, Compagnie Miniere de Guemassa, Companie Miniere de Seksaoua, Directorate of Geology, Managem, Managem Mining, Mineral Industry Federation, Ministry of Energy and Mines, National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mining – Morocco, Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines, Omnium Nord Africain, Phosphates de Boucraa SA, Royale Asturienne
Akka, Benguerir II, Bleida, Bou Azzer, Boucraa II, Douar Hajar, Drâa Lasfar, Imiter, Sidi Chenane, Sidi Daoui, Touissit