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China's CNGR partners with African fund Al Mada to set up $2bn EV batteries plant in Morocco

Chinese battery parts maker CNGR Advanced Material and the African private investment fund Al Mada plan to establish an industrial base in Morocco’s Jorf Lasfar with initial investments totalling MAD 20bn ($2bn), the partners said in a joint statement on Tuesday (September 19). 

The firms are in talks with Morocco’s state-owned phosphates and fertiliser company OCP to secure the phosphates they need for production. 

Production is expected to start in 2025 and will be enough to equip more than 1mn electric vehicles (EVs) per year, according to the statement. Most of the production will be exported. 

Morocco is rich in phosphate resources, necessary for producing the lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) cells used in electric vehicles. The venture plans to develop precursors active materials for nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries, as well as production units for LFP cathodes and recycling facilities for battery materials.

In August, Chinese electric vehicle battery manufacturer Huayou said it had plans to invest MAD 200bn ($20bn) into establishing a plant in Morocco’s region of Laayoune Sakia El Hamra. The plant will produce electric batteries for 6mn cars annually.

This May, the Chinese electric mobility group Gotion High-Tech signed an agreement to construct a $6.3bn new factory for the production of electric car batteries and energy storage systems in Morocco.

These moves reflect Moroccan efforts to attract EV battery manufacturers to adapt its growing automotive sector to low-carbon requirements. Cars and their components have topped Morocco’s exports so far this year outperforming phosphate and fertiliser sales.

The Moroccan government is accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean and decarbonised energy sources, through the use of solar and wind energies. It has focused on renewable energy recently and has been attracting large projects for energy production using wind turbines and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. 

The country’s renewable energy plan aims to more than double its renewable energy production to 12 GW – representing 52% of total power capacity – by 2030, from a current level of 5 GW, or 40% of capacity.