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Dangote Group, said on Monday that it is planning to buy phosphate from Morocco and potash from Congo-Brazzaville to feed a planned fertilizer plant.

According to Reuters, Dangote told a business forum in Lagos his firm was close to signing a deal with a Moroccan firm to supply phosphate, without giving details.

Dangote has raised a $3.3 billion loan to develop a $9 billion oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer. The group has invested $3.5 billion of its own equity. He also disclosed that his planned oil refinery would have a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from an initial plan of 400,000 bpd.

“We can actually build … 30 percent cheaper than previously,” Dangote said, referring to lower construction cost as a result of cheap global steel prices.

Company officials said that the refinery and petrochemical complex will go online around 2018, while a gas pipeline will be constructed beneath the sea to link the Niger Delta to West Africa.

The pipeline will be able to transport 1.5 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day, he said, without giving more details.

Dangote Group, which is very active in cement, oil, food and sugar business plans to produce one million tonnes of rice within five years, as it seeks to expand into farming.

“Our projects are mainly import substitution.” he said. “We are working to be self-sufficient.” This statement was made against the backdrop that Nigeria imports annually 2.8 million tonnes of rice, the majority of which is smuggled into the country

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