Rabat – Morocco’s ranking as an attractive business destination for mining companies dropped from 2nd place in 2021 to 17th place a year later, according to a new report from Fraser, a Canada-based think tank.
The results of the ranking are based on surveys involving companies operating in mining in 62 countries.
On the Investment Attractiveness sub-index, Morocco’s ranking dropped from 8th place in 2021 to 16th place in 2022. On the continental level, Morocco ranks in second place behind Botswana
Companies’ perception of the policies governing mining in the country has also worsened in 2022. In the Policy Perception Index (PPI), which measures the attractiveness of mining policies, Morocco ranked in 17th position, a freefall from last year’s 2nd place.
“Morocco is the second most attractive jurisdiction in Africa both for investment and when only policies are considered,” the report argues.
Despite ranking high on the continental stage, “Morocco’s PPI score decreased by almost 18 points. In fact, Morocco ranks 17th (of 62) this year, dropping out of the top 10 jurisdictions after ranking 2nd (of 84) in 2021 in terms of policy.”
According to the Canadian think tank, Morocco’s drop in the ranking is due to the fact that investors expressed “increased concerns over the uncertainty of administration and enforcement of existing regulations.”
Labor regulations and employment agreements, uncertainty concerning disputed land claims top the list of concerns for investors in Morocco, the report said. Also causing concerns for investors are trade barriers and socio-economic agreements and community development conditions, it added.
Morocco’s mining industry
Mining is an important component of Morocco’s economy, with phosphates being its most developed mineral. However, the country’s mining sector remains under-explored for other minerals.
Data from the Ministry of Mining indicates that the sector contributes 9% to the country’s GDP, accounts for 30% of its exports, employs over 40,000 people, and is responsible for the majority of sea and rail freight.
Morocco is home to two-thirds of the world’s phosphate reserves, and the state-owned Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP Group) is in charge of exploring, exploiting, and exporting the mineral.
Still private companies have invested an estimated $A550 million in the sector, with key minerals including zinc, fluorine, barite, cobalt, bentonite, copper, iron ore, manganese, silver, gold, uranium, and rare earth elements.
The Moroccan government aims to significantly increase the share of non-phosphate mining activities within the sector. This move would diversify the country’s mining industry and reduce its reliance on phosphates, which have long dominated the sector.