World’s largest phosphate miner turns to solar


From pv magazine France

Moroccan state-owned phosphate mining company OCP Group has announced the construction of four solar power plants at two of its four mining sites in Morocco.

The company said it will build two solar farms with capacities of 22 MW and 45 MW at its site in Benguerir and two facilities with capacities of 30 MW and 105 MW in Khouribga. These two sites are home to the largest phosphate reserves in Morocco and the country alone concentrates around 70% of the world's reserves discovered to date.

The solar facilities will have a combined capacity of 202 MW and will all rely on 540 W mono-PERC modules mounted on solar trackers. The plants will power the sites' operations. The commissioning of the four power plants is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.

“Construction should start by the end of April, as the building permit had already been granted in the fourth quarter of 2022,” a spokesperson from OCP Group told pv magazine France.

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The company secured €100 million ($110.5 million) of financing from International Finance Corp. (IFC) for the projects.

“The solar power plants will provide a cost-effective source of energy, contributing to the overall competitiveness of the OCP Group,” the company said in a statement. “We plan to meet 100% of our electricity needs with wind, solar and cogeneration energy by 2027.”

The project is part of the MAD 130 billion (€11.7 billion) investment program launched by OCP at the end of 2022 to increase its production capacity from 12 to 20 million tonnes by 2027.

Under the Mining Code, the phosphate industry is one of the most polluting sectors in the world, along with other extraction activities. Mining alone accounts for more than 6% of global emissions. The OCP group did not wish to specify the part of the consumption of the activities (nor the nature of the activities) which will be covered by solar energy.

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