Cobalt squeeze hits Managem, Morocco’s mining giant

Morocco’s leading mining company, Managem, reported a 13% decline in revenue for the first quarter of 2024. 

The company, a subsidiary of the Moroccan royal family’s investment fund, attributed the drop to a decrease in cobalt production.

Managem’s revenue fell to 1.935 billion dirhams ($194 million) compared to the same period last year. 

This decline is a direct result of reduced output at their Bou Azzer cobalt mine, located in the Atlas mountains. 

In a statement, the company explained that production has been intentionally lowered “to preserve resources” due to unfavorable international cobalt market prices.

The Bou Azzer mine is a key supplier of cobalt for German automaker BMW, a crucial element in electric car batteries.

Managem also has plans to supply another major car manufacturer, Renault, with cobalt starting in 2025.

Adding to the company’s woes, Managem reported a “temporary suspension” of production at their Guemassa cobalt site near Marrakech. 

This suspension is due to ongoing seismic reinforcements following a major earthquake that struck the Atlas mountains in September 2023.

Despite the decrease in cobalt output, Managem did find some solace in rising prices for other mined materials. 

The company noted an increase in gold, silver, and copper prices, which partially offset the losses from cobalt.

Managem, listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange, operates mines across six African countries. 

The company’s financial performance highlights the volatile nature of the global mining industry, where fluctuations in commodity prices can significantly impact revenue.

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