Its ​Time to Tighten Ties – Part 6

India and Morocco – A Mining Partnership

Hitherto we have been exploring partnerships with bigger players, where India had looked for investors and sought to benefit from their expertise. But we must also know that for growth, India also needs partnerships where it is the bigger player. India can partner with smaller resource rich  countries where Indian mining companies can invest and get returns; where Indian experts can share their expertise to uplift another economy. The partnership with several African countries falls in to this category. India with it’s huge population is one of the biggest consumer markets and it’s demand for metals and minerals is immense. Several Indian Mining majors have invested in mines in Africa to meet the demand back home.  So when we are considering opportunities for investment in mining, one country that holds a huge potential is Morroco.

Morocco is one of the Maghreb Countries located in the North-western part of Africa. Its strategic location between Europe and the rest of Africa with the TANGER-MED port is a huge plus for its mining industry. Morocco’s rich mineral deposits have steadily attracted explorers around the globe and so not surprisingly, the mineral industry is Morocco’s largest foreign exchange earning sector. Mining contributes to more than 5 % of the GDP and 35 %  of exports. The mining scene in here is dominated by phosphate mining, but the country also has identified reserves of cobalt, nickel, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, antimony, manganese, iron ore, fluorspar, barite, talc, clays, anthracite, salt and petroleum.

The  Moroccan Advantage.

Apart from it’s bountiful resources and convenient location there are many more factors that work in favour of the Moroccan Mining industry. Here are a few reasons why Morocco can be a great investment destination for Indian Mining giants

  • Morocco unlike many of its sister countries in the African continent has a stable Government and  hence a higher investment security
  • Morocco has a liberalized economy, based on the private sector that facilitates expansion and modernization
  • The country has a rich and diverse geology and a long history of mining
  • Customs duty and tax exemptions on imported equipment
  • Reasonably well-developed infrastructure
  • Updated and relevant mining laws
  • Fiscal advantages – low mining taxation rate of 17.5% and mining royalty of just 3%
  • Availability and accessibility of information
  • Foreign ownership of mining facilities, foreign participation in local mining activities and full repatriation of profits are allowed

The advantage and attractiveness of the Moroccan mining sector are evidenced by the latest analysis released by the BMI research group. According to the report Morocco’s mining sector is ranked as the second most attractive market in the MENA region, after Saudi Arabia, with an overall Mining Risk Reward Index (RRI) score of 56.3 out of 100.

What is India’s equation with Morocco?

India can fulfill Morocco’s need for a strategic partner in the field of Phosphate, where Morocco is the leading exporter in the world. Morocco’s Government-owned phosphate major, the OCP group has launched twining programs with Indian companies. Investment in Morocco can serve as a business base for Indian companies says Mr. Rabbah, the Minister of Mines in Morocco. He said Morocco is expecting investments in its phosphate mining industry to go up to USD 20 billion by 2025. India also has devoted considerable funds and efforts in developing clean energy. The knowledge and expertise that India has in this field can be scared with Morocco through the partnership

Considering the opportunities that a partnership of these two countries can bring, Morocco and India signed an MoU last year to strengthen co-operation between them in the field of mining and geology. The MoU covered the areas of geological infrastructure development, production of geological, geophysical, and geochemical maps,  strengthening of scientific research, and the assessment of mineral resource potential. The memorandum also provided for the establishment of a joint commission to oversee its implementation and encouraged the setting up of qualitative agreements between agencies, public and private institutions, and companies from both countries in order to promote bilateral cooperation projects and activities. The sixth session of the Morocco-India Joint Committee was held last month to review the development of relations between the two countries and to discuss the means to step up bilateral cooperation. Mining was one of the focus areas of the discussion. 

So Morocco and India are right on track as far as co-operation in mining is concerned. Maybe it’s time for our private players to look seriously at opportunities that the aspiring mining nation offers. The Casablanca connection could be just what they need to give them the push forward.

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