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Musings From Abroad

China’s Hailiang, Shinzoom to establish vehicle battery installations in Morocco

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Hailiang and Shinzoom, Chinese car battery makers, will establish two separate operations in Morocco as the country strives to adapt its burgeoning automotive sector to rising demand for electric vehicles, Moroccan officials announced on Tuesday.

Tanger Tech, the Moroccan northern industrial zone’s development authority, said Hailiang intends to establish a $450 million copper facility on a 30-hectare plot of land. Shinzoom, a subsidiary of Hunan Zhongke, plans to invest $460 million in an anode plant spanning 20 hectares, according to a statement.

In April, the Moroccan government approved Chinese electric battery company BTR New Material Group (835185.BJE)’s plans to build a factory in Tangier to manufacture crucial component cathodes.

Another Chinese firm, CNGR Advanced Material (300919.SZ), plans to develop a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 miles south of Casablanca, where the government has set aside 283 hectares for electric battery sectors.

Last year, the Moroccan government and China’s Gotion agreed to examine establishing an electric vehicle battery plant in the country, with a potential investment of up to $6.3 billion. Last month, Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour told Reuters that the Gotion project was moving forward, with conversations over its footprint and location.

Morocco’s strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar, free trade agreements with important EU and US markets, and existing automotive sector cluster all attract Chinese enterprises.

In 2023, the automotive sector topped Morocco’s industrial exports with $14 billion, a 27% increase. Morocco is home to Stellantis (STLAM.MI) and Renault (RENA.PA) production factories with an annual combined capacity of 700,000 automobiles, as well as a network of local suppliers.

Musings From Abroad

Production at China’s $1 billion Tsingshan steel mill in Zimbabwe begins

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A corporate official announced on Thursday that Tsingshan Holding Group, a $1 billion steel mill in central Zimbabwe, is now producing nickel, the largest nickel producer in China.

During a factory tour, project director Wilfred Motsi informed reporters that Tsingshan’s Dinson Iron and Steel Company will produce 600,000 metric tons of carbon steel annually during the first phase of operations.

“We have started to produce pig iron, which is a raw material used for the production of steel. By July, that’s when we will start to produce the actual carbon steel,” Motsi said.
He did not say how long the first phase would last.

Tsingshan, a prominent global producer of nickel, has made noteworthy investments in Zimbabwe throughout the past few years. In addition to the steel mill, Tsingshan operates enterprises in southern Africa that mine lithium, ferrochrome, and coking coal.

In Dinson, the business has constructed a 50-megawatt thermal power plant. To meet 20% of its electricity needs, the steel plant will use the gas produced by its furnace to generate additional power.

To lessen the negative effects of Zimbabwe’s electricity shortages on its operations, the company also intends to construct a solar power facility.

The total estimated value of iron and steel imports from Zimbabwe in 2020 was $128 million. Compared to the previous year, when the products were imported to the tune of about 114 million U.S. dollars, this represented an increase in value.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia eyes more partnership with South Africa as Putin congratulates Ramaphosa

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Kremlin leader, Vladimir Putin, has congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on his reelection as president.

On the Kremlin website, a statement from Putin’s phone conversation with Ramaphosa was posted: “Hope was expressed for continued joint work on further strengthening of the partnership between Russia and South Africa in all its aspects.”

Parliament reelected Ramaphosa on Friday. However, the creation of a government composed of five parties so far was spurred by his African National Congress party’s inability to secure a majority in last month’s election—the first such loss in thirty years.

Since the invasion in 2022, Russia and Ukraine have been competing with one another for support from African countries, sending their foreign ministers on many regional tours.

Like many other African nations, South Africa has deep ties to Moscow that go back to the Soviet era, when Moscow was a major supporter of the ANC’s campaign to end apartheid and other liberation organizations.

After opposing Russia’s invasion in February 2022, South Africa has since taken a more nuanced stance, abstaining from many votes in the UN General Assembly denouncing Russian actions.

South Africa spent the weekend in the “peace summit” on Ukraine, which was hosted by Switzerland. Even though several controversial issues were left out to get broader support, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries declined to sign the final communiqué.

As the host nation for the BRICS summit in 2023, South Africa was faced with a difficult decision: even though the Russian president had an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court of Justice for allegedly deporting Ukrainian children, the country thought about inviting Putin to the event.

South Africa has maintained relations with Russia and has opened stands against Western powers in global politics in recent times.

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