Morocco seeks a place of prominence in the uranium sector

The Moroccan kingdom has wide-ranging powers to produce this metallic chemical element 
Maquinaria pesada para limpiar el legado de la extracción de mineral de uranio – PHOTO/MARTIN SCHUTT/DPA/dpa Picture-Alliance vía AFP
Heavy machinery to clean up uranium ore mining legacy - PHOTO/MARTIN SCHUTT/DPA/dPA/dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP

Morocco, a world leader in the production of phosphates, can tackle the production of uranium metal on a large scale, as several specialised sources such as the Energy platform have pointed out.  

The alternative that the Moroccan route could represent is a good option for the world's supply due to the crisis affecting supply chains and energy sources, areas plagued by the current political instability marked by armed conflicts such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the current one in Gaza, which is seriously affecting the Middle East. 

Morocco is a good alternative in the face of doubts about uranium supplies from unstable countries such as Russia, which is waging war in Ukraine, or Niger, which produces 5% of the world's uranium and is a nation that recently suffered a coup d'état that installed a military junta in power.  

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) located in the southern provinces, 100 km southwest of the city of El Aaiun - REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL

The North African country is thus presented as an alternative solution to contribute to the development of nuclear resources and water management at a time of great importance of uranium metal for global electricity. 

Uranium is essential for the nuclear industry, an important energy source, and Morocco is now seeking to become a major uranium producer, thanks to its phosphate reserves. Phosphates account for 20% of Morocco's exports and contribute 5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The state-owned phosphate mining and production company, Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), has control over just over 70% of the world's phosphate reserves and a global market share of 31%. These figures demonstrate Morocco's relevance in this field. 

It should be recalled that uranium extraction from phosphates has already reached an adequate level of profitability, a situation that has generated situations such as the intense relations between France and Morocco to sign an agreement to build nuclear power plants in the Moroccan kingdom. The North African country has more than 70% of the world's phosphate reserves, and the International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that more than six million tonnes of uranium could be extracted from these reserves, double the current world reserves. 

Técnicos de la Organización de Energía Atómica de Irán en una sala de control en la Instalación de Conversión de Uranio en Isfahan, Irán - PHOTO/REUTERS
Technicians from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in a control room at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, Iran - PHOTO/REUTERS

This makes Morocco a country with great potential in the market for this metallic chemical element.  

According to media outlets such as Energia and Al Akhbar, Morocco is seeking to join the map of producers, thanks to its phosphate reserves, which account for more than 70% of the world's reserves, as it is a primary source for the production of uranium, among other derivatives used in the manufacture of agricultural fertilisers, phosphoric acid and others. Morocco's uranium reserves amount to more than six million tonnes, according to the Energy platform, which increases the Kingdom's chances of joining the list of major producers, coinciding with the strengthening of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.  

Morocco is seeking to position itself high on the production map and has used the experience of the United States and Russia to improve uranium production from phosphates, while supporting it through the establishment of a nuclear plant and water treatment facilities.  

In this regard, specialised agencies in Morocco collaborated with Rosatom, Russia's state-owned nuclear energy corporation, which is not included in the US and European sanctions on Moscow stemming from the invasion of Ukraine. The collaboration has been aimed at developing nuclear power plants in accordance with the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency.