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Cobalt Mining in Bouazar and workers' struggle, Morocco

1,200 miners are working under conditions akin to slavery, more than six hundred meters below the surface without any safeguards against the risk of landslides.


The Bouazar Cobalt deposit, situated about 34 km from Taznakht in the Ouarzazate governorate was discovered in 1928 and 1931 and the exploitation of the mine starting in 1942. [1][2] In addition to Cobalt, many secondary minerals including gold are being extracted by Compagnie de Tifnout Tiranimine (CTT), the exploiting company. The royal holding suspended its activity in 1983, before resuming four years later. Workers were offered their former job, this time through an employment agency, and a cycle of job precariousness thus started. [3][6] 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Cobalt Mining in Bouazar and workers' struggle, Morocco
State or province:Ouarzazate
Location of conflict:Taznakht
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Cobalt
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The mine operator is Compagnie de Tifnout Tiranimine (CTT) from the Managem industrial group. The mine is situated 120 Km south of Ouarzazate. It has a yearly production capacity of 2000 tonnes of Cobalt and employs between 1200 and 1600 people.

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:1,200-1,600
Start of the conflict:22/04/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Managem Group from Morocco - Mine Operator
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Trade unions
Mine Workers
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases
Other Health impactsSilicosis
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:As job security is low, workers demand the right to weekly breaks and paid holidays, compensation for working accidents, registration to social security and stable contracts for temporary workers—some of whom have been working in the mine for 10 years.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite several years of protest, the miner's demands are not yet fully met. Only masks have been provided as protective gear, and many workers were fired as a result of the protesting.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[1] - "Bou Azzer Deposit" in Morocco, Cobalt Producer, Discovered in 1931
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[2] - History of Managem
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[3] - Morocco: Cobalt miners struggle against exploitation, for the right to organize and for a decent living - They need your support
[click to view]

[4] - Morocco: Bouazar miners stand up against the bosses and the state
[click to view]

[5] - Maroc : " le mouvement du 20 février n'a cessé d'innover avec de nouvelles formes d'actions et d'organisation "
[click to view]

[6] - In Morocco, the Intense Exploitation of Miners and the Land Continues
[click to view]

Au Maroc, l’intense exploitation des mineurs et des sols continue
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Christophe Maroun - [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3357
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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