World’s largest phosphate-based fertilizer maker shifts to solar


Morocco-based state-owned phosphate rock miner OCP Group intends to power mining operations with solar power at two sites in the northwest African country.

The company said in a statement it inked a €100 million ($106.0 million) contractual loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), with the money going towards partially funding the construction of €360 million twin solar PV plants located in the mining towns of Benguerir and Khouribga.

The projects are expected to have a combined capacity of 400 MW and to be linked with 100 MWh of battery storage. The two solar plants will provide energy to the unspecified mine's operations.

OCP group chairman and CEO, Mostafa Terrab, said the agreement is a “major milestone” towards the company achieving its target of 100% renewable energy in fertilizer production by 2027.

OCP's first started mining Khouribga for phosphate – a common fertilizer ingredient – in 1921, and touts the Benguerir open-pit mine as one of its most important research facilities in the country. Together, these towns form the Gantour system, which is the third-largest phosphate mine in the world.

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, allocated its first green loan – financing offered to projects with a positive environmental impact – to OCP Group in April for the mining company's 1.2 GW solar program, which consists of four solar power plants.

A spokesperson from OCP Group told pv magazine France in April that construction of the projects was expected to start at the end of that month, with a building permit granted at the end of 2022.

OCP Group, one of the largest phosphate and fertiliser companies in the world, is expected to convert its operations to exclusively “green” energy by 2027, the announcement states.

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