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Western Sahara: NGO reveals 2019 list of phosphate importers, allegedly complicit in natural resource plundering

In February 2020, Western Sahara Resource Watch published its annual P for Plunder report, documenting an overview of Morocco’s trade of phosphate rock from the occupied territory of Western Sahara during the previous year. The report recalls that such investments violate the right to Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources for Indigenous Peopleand alludes that  foreign companies contribute to  normalizing and supporting the disputed occupation of Westerdan Sahara by Morocco.

The report calls on all businesses involved in the phosphate trade from Western Sahara to halt purchases immediately. 

The report shows that phosphate exports from Western Sahara totalled 1.03 million tonnes and were valued at US$90.4 million in 2019, the lowest level of exports ever. This is significantly lower than in 2018 when the exported 1.9 million tonnes were worth an estimated US$164 million.

The report attributes the reduction primarily to the end of a deal it had with importing company Nutrien in North America.

The importers listed in the report are

  •  India headquartered Paradeep - a joint venture between OCP and Indian group Zuari Agoup-

  • Indian company Coramandel

  • New Zealand companies Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

  •  Two “small consignments” went to Brazil, allegedly to fertiliser producer Fertipar, with two other shipments sent to ports in China bought by unidentified importers.

Besides importers, the report also identifies a number of companies who otherwise facilitate the phosphate trade from Western Sahara in light of ties with OCP. These were: 

  • Siemens,

  • AtlasCopco

  • Epiroc, 

  • Worley Parsons 

 Furthermore, the report raises concerns that 3 companies,namely, Incitec pivot, Litosa, Monomeros Colomo Venezolano may resume purchasing phosphate. 

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre had previously sought response from OCP and Ravensdown. Their response is outlined below.

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre approached all other companies for responses:

  • Paradeep, Coromandel, Balance and Fertipar did not respond

  • Siemens did not respond

  • Atlas Copco provided a response.The company denies any operation in Western Sahara

  • Siemens & Worley Parsons did not respond 

  • Incite Pivot provided a response. The company mentioned that while the company did not outsource from Western Sahara since December 2006, the company   ecured phosphate rock from Togo, Vietnam and China and we will continue to prioritise these sources of supply.

  • Epiroc has provided a response. The company said that they will look into the issue. 

All full responses / non responses are recorded below. Companies are still welcome to submit their responses.

Company Responses

Incitec Pivot View Response
Atlas Copco View Response
Epiroc View Response
WorleyParsons

No Response

Paradeep

No Response

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