Renault Group and Managem Group, a Moroccan player in the mining and hydrometallurgy sector, have signed a memorandum of understanding (‘MoU’) aimed at securing the supply of low-carbon and responsible cobalt sulphate for electric batteries.

Under the terms of the agreement, Managem Group will supply 5,000 tonnes of cobalt sulphate per year for a period of 7 years, with first delivery in 2025. After an engineering study, Managem Group plans to invest in the construction of a factory located within the Guemassa industrial complex, Morocco in order to transform cobalt ore into Cobalt sulphate.

Through this partnership, Renault Group says it has guaranteed a significant supply of cobalt sulphate, representing an annual battery production capacity of up to 15 GWh.

Renault maintains that the direct cooperation between a car manufacturer and a mining player guarantees a long-term traceability system for the supply chain of cobalt for batteries. It also aims to reduce the impact on the environment, in particular thanks to the know-how of Managem Group which have optimised energy efficiency at their facilities through the growing use of green energies, more than 80% of which come from wind power.

The agreement includes the possibility for Managem Group, Renault Group and its Alliance partners advance further cooperation in the supply of manganese and copper sulphate, as well as on the recycling of battery materials in short loops.

Renault Group aims to reduce the carbon footprint of its batteries by 20% by 2025 and by 35% by 2030, compared to 2020. Combined with the partnership with Vulcan to secure low-carbon lithium and Terrafame for low-carbon nickel sulphate, the latest agreement is described as a new step towards reducing the environmental footprint of electric vehicles and the Group’s objective of carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040.

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By GlobalData

Mr. Ryad Mezzour, Minister of Industry and Trade of Morocco said: “A new stage in the strategic partnership between Morocco and Renault Group begins with the signing of this agreement today, which will utilize Moroccan natural resources and industry to support the development of electric mobility worldwide and the deep integration of the national automotive industrial platform,”. He adds: “the Moroccan automotive industry is accelerating its transition to electrification with sustainable and efficient Moroccan cobalt sourcing for electric batteries. At the same time, we are working to position Morocco as a producer of electric batteries and a key player in sustainable mobility.”

Gianluca De Ficchy, Alliance Purchasing EVP and Managing Director of the Alliance Purchasing Organization (APO), commented: “We are very pleased to partner with Managem Group, a recognized mining player, who utilises unique and efficient production and processing methods and will contribute in this way to the economic, social, and environmental development of the automotive industry in Morocco. This agreement is an additional step towards achieving the objective of reducing the carbon footprint of our batteries and achieving carbon neutrality for the Renault Group in Europe by 2040, and worldwide by 2050. The traceability and decarbonization of the raw materials of our batteries are crucial issues for electric mobility and the energy transition. We thus ensure a local supply of low-carbon cobalt closer to our European manufacturing ecosystem of electric batteries.”

The agreement will also support the development of the Moroccan automotive industry and strengthen Morocco’s positioning as a platform for the production and export of equipment, motor vehicles and now strategic and critical materials of Moroccan origin such as cobalt, manganese and copper for the manufacture of batteries. It is part of the commitments made by Renault Group to the Kingdom of Morocco, to develop the Renault ecosystem in country by increasing local sourcing to €2.5 billion from 2025 and a target of €3 billion.