Weir Minerals targets Morocco quarrying sector
First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
OCP's 235km pipeline to carry the washed phosphate from Khouribga to Jorf Lasfar
Morocco has been enjoying an economic upturn in the past two years and, according to the latest figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country is predicted to achieve growth of 3.8% in 2014, buoyed by infrastructure projects and overseas investment.
Bouchra Mouti of Weir Minerals explains why the opportunity for process equipment suppliers in Morocco does not start and end with phosphate mining, an industry at the heart of the economy. It is a mineral for which there is large and growing demand around the world thanks to the essential role it plays in agricultural fertilisers.
Morocco is currently the world’s third largest producer of phosphates, but the country is thought to contain over 75% of global phosphorus reserves, ensuring it is an industry that will thrive for many years to come.
Weir Minerals has supplied pumps and mill circuit equipment to Moroccan customers for more than 25 years and, naturally, the primary focus has been the sizeable phosphate production industry.
In fact, only last year pumps were supplied to Turkish contractor Tekfen to power the world’s longest ever phosphate slurry pipeline for Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), the state-owned company that runs Morocco’s phosphorus mines.
Feeding this pipeline are three new phosphate processing plants that also make use of pumps and cyclones from Weir Minerals.
However, the recent economic growth has been reflected in a major upturn in construction activity across the country and this has created a significant domestic market for construction materials such as sands, silt and limestone.
A major upturn in construction activity across Morocco has created a significant domestic market for construction materials such limestone.
As reported in Aggregates Business International, new quarries have been opening at a rapid rate across the country, and this is creating a growing demand for mill circuit equipment.
As the sector grows, it is also becoming increasingly strictly regulated, adding financial pressure to quarry operators as they strive to use water responsibly and keep their fuel usage and emissions under control. This is further increasing the market for high-quality process equipment that will deliver reasonable energy efficiency and fewer time-consuming parts failures.
Another important factor in selecting process equipment is the level of after-market sales support that will be available and this is a particular concern for quarries and mines in remote locations where the nearest specialist maintenance engineers may be a long way from the site.
To ensure its direct sales operation across Morocco is backed up by sufficient technical and maintenance support, Weir Minerals has just launched a new service centre in Khouribga, in the heart of the country’s phosphates heartland.
The centre will support a team of engineers that will carry out repairs both on and off customer sites, as well as stocking spare parts in order to minimise turnaround time.
Of course, a key function of this facility will be supporting the large amount of process equipment supplied to OCP and Managem Group over the years, but it will also play a key part in supporting the company’s quarrying customers around Morocco, as well as neighbouring territories of Western Sahara, Mauritania and Egypt.