blue gold

Morocco: Managem bets on cobalt

By Maher Hajbi

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Posted on July 24, 2023 11:49

Cobalt Managem
Cobalt sulphate is a vital component of electric vehicle batteries. (©Managem Group)

Moroccan mining group Managem will start building its cobalt-processing plant by 2025.

Managem, the Moroccan mining group majority-owned by the royal holding company Al Mada, plans to build a cobalt-processing plant to supply the growing demand for electric-vehicle batteries.

“The feasibility study for the construction of the plant to transform cobalt ore into cobalt sulphate is currently being finalised. We hope to start construction work in 2025,” Meriem Belmokadem, head of communications at Managem, tells The Africa Report.

The Moroccan mining group is planning to invest in the Guemassa industrial complex, 60km from Marrakech. While the cost of the project has not yet been announced, the future plant is part of a partnership with French carmaker Renault.

Serving the automotive industry

In June 2022, Managem and Renault signed a seven-year agreement for a “sustainable supply of cobalt”. The Moroccan mining group undertakes to supply the French carmaker with 5,000tn of cobalt sulphate, an essential element in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles.

Cobalt will initially be extracted from the Bou-Azzer mine, while the future Guemassa plant will process between 5,000tn and 6,000tn of cobalt ore into cobalt sulphate per year.

“This new plant will not only serve Renault, but it will also serve the entire automotive industry,” says Belmokadem.

Diversified portfolio

At a time when carmakers are racing to secure supplies of rare metals, the Moroccan mining group is stepping up its investments. With a diversified portfolio of metals, Managem – which operates in nine African countries – recently strengthened its position in Senegal, where it took control of the Boto gold project last April.

In 2022, Managem also recorded a 30% increase in sales, to 9.6bn dirhams (€880m). The group benefited from the consolidation of its cobalt production, and above all from the growth in its gold production, in addition to an increase in the average selling price and a favourable exchange rate.

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