Morocco to increase supply of rock Phosphate and Phosphoric acid

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New Delhi, Mar 27 (UNI) Morocco will significantly enhance the supply of rock phosphate and phosphoric acid to India required for manufacture of DAP and other complex fertilisers.

This indication was given in the meeting between the Moroccan Prime Minister, Abbas El Fassi with Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Chemicals, Fertilizers and Steel at Rabat.

In the hour long meeting with the Moroccan Prime Minister, several issues including investment in Morocco by Indian companies in chemicals, fertilizers, steel, automobiles and cooperation in the field of mineral and oil exploration were discussed according to an official communication received here today.

The Indian delegation held a meeting with Mostafa Terrab, President and CEO of OCP, world's largest supplier of rock phosphate and phosphoric acid, at Casablanca.

Mr Terrab assured that as the leading supplier of rock phosphate and phosphoric acid, OCP would make all possible efforts to ship enhanced quantities of these raw materials/intermediates required for phosphatic fertilizers with distinct and considerable price advantage to India against the prevailing international price.

India imports nearly 1.1 Million Tonnes (MT) of rock phosphate from Morocco, which is 22 per cent of total import of rock phosphate. About 1.2 MT of phosphoric acid is imported to India from Morocco, which is about 50 per cent of country's total import.

Besides, the possibilities of long term measures such as setting up of joint ventures in Morocco were also discussed. OCP offered two plots for Indian entities at Jorf Lasfer for setting up of phosphoric acid unit.

India was also requested to participate in improving the mining of rock phosphate so as to increase its availability. OCP welcomed the participation of NMDC in this effort.

Earlier in his meeting with Moroccan Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment Ms Amina Benkhadra Mr Paswan extended the offer of providing services of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), a PSU under the Ministry of Steel, for exploration of various minerals in Morocco.

Morocco is reported to have reserves of gold lead, zinc, iron, silver and copper. It was decided that a Joint Committee comprising of representatives of ONHYM, the Moroccan entity in mineral sector and representative of NMDC would work out the modalities and develop an action plan.

The Moroccan Minister of Commerce and Industry will be meeting the delegation in Casablanca today for further talks on increasing cooperation in various industrial sectors. This meeting has been organized on the initiative of the Moroccan Prime Minister. Mr Paswan is leading a high level delegation to Morocco on a three days visit. The delegation includes Secretary, Department of Fertilizers, Dr J S Sarma and other senior officials of the Department, Rana Som, CMD, NMDC and U S Jha, CMD, RCF.

India is one of the largest consumers of fertilizers. However, it meets a large part of its requirements in the phosphatic sector through imports of phosphatic raw materials/ intermediates such as rock phosphate and phosphoric acid. It imports nearly five MT of rock phosphate, 2.5 million tonnes of phosphoric acid and three MT of Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) annually.

The country produces 17.7 per cent of global production of DAP, imports 23.6 per cent of global trade of DAP and consumes 28.1 per cent of global consumption of DAP.

India does not have any indigenous production of Mono-Ammonium Phosphate (MAP) and Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and imports around four per cent of global trade of MAP corresponding to 1.3 per cent of global consumption.

The country imports 17.9 per cent of global trade of rock phosphate, as the indigenous production is extremely limited.

India's indigenous production of phosphoric acid corresponds to 4.1 per cent of global production and it imports a significant 54.4 per cent of phosphoric acid of global trade.

India's consumption of phosphoric acid constitutes 11.7 per cent of global consumption.

Morocco has one of the largest reserves of phosphate rock and is one of the main producer and supplier of phosphatic raw materials, intermediates and finished fertilizers to the global market. Current production of rock phosphate by Morocco is about 29 million tonnes annually, of which nearly 45-50 per cent is exported.

Indian fertilizer company Paradeep Phosphate Limited (PPL) has a long-term supply arrangement of rock phosphate from Morocco and Zuari Industries Ltd (ZIL) and Tata Chemicals Ltd (TCL) have off-take arrangement for phosphoric acid from IMACID, a joint venture between Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), Morocco and ZIL and TCL, India. OCP, Morocco also has equity stake in the PPL, India, the communication added.

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