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
NameCobalt Mining in Bouazar and workers' struggle, Morocco
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 CommoditiesCobalt
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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
Potential Affected Population1,200-1,600
Start Date22/04/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesManagem Group from Morocco - Mine Operator
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
Trade unions
Mine Workers
Forms of MobilizationStreet 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
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesAs 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 as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

[2] - History of Managem
[click to view]

[1] - "Bou Azzer Deposit" in Morocco, Cobalt Producer, Discovered in 1931
[click to view]

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

[3] - Morocco: Cobalt miners struggle against exploitation, for the right to organize and for a decent living - They need your support
[click to view]

Other Documents

Miners Protesting
[click to view]

Your Majesty, Our Rights?
[click to view]

Miners' working conditions,1558
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorChristophe Maroun - [email protected]
Last update26/02/2018