Report provides overview of companies purchasing phosphate from disputed Western Sahara territory, allegedly without benefits to locals

In June 2014. Western Sahara Resource Watch published a report detailing information about companies that purchase phosphate from Western Sahara.  The report alleges that phosphate provides the main source of income for Morocco, which illegally occupies Western Sahara.  Furthermore, it claims that the exploitation of phosphate does not benefit local Saharawis and is undertaken without their consultation.  The report also names companies that have ended their phosphate purchases from Western Sahara (BASF, Impact Fertilisers, Mosaic, Nidera Uruguaya, Yara International).

We invited the companies mentioned in the report as purchasing phosphate to respond:

  • Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan response provided - see below
  • Lifosa did not respond
  • Innophos did not respond
  • Ravensdown did not respond but said they had passed our inquiry to their industry association - if we receive any comment we will include it here
  • Agrium response provided - see below
  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients did not respond
  • Pequiven (owner of Monomeros) did not respond
  • Incitec-Pivot response provided - see below
  • Tripoliven did not respond
  • ISUSA did not respond
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All components of this story

Company non-response
24 September 2014

Ballance Agri-Nutrients did not respond

Ballance Agri-Nutrients did not respond

Company non-response
24 September 2014

Ravensdown did not respond

Ravensdown did not respond 

Company non-response
16 September 2014

Lifosa did not respond

Lifosa did not respond

Company response
15 September 2014

Agrium Canada response

Author: Agrium (Canada)

We feel it is also important to clarify that Agrium does not take a political position on issues related to disputed territorial claims. Rather, Agrium looks to guidance from the Canadian and US governments before entering into any agreement which may be related to the relevant territory. In addition, Agrium has sought and received legal advice to ensure that our position is in compliance with international, Canadian and US law in respect of the importation of phosphate rock from this region. In sum, Agrium’s agreement with OCP complies with the respective trade and custom laws of these jurisdictions.

Download the full document here

Article
10 September 2014

Full report

Author: Western Sahara Resource Watch

"P – for Plunder: Morocco’s exports of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara, 2012 & 2013", Jun 2014

Western Sahara Resource Watch now publishes a detailed overview of the companies involved in the purchases of the phosphates from occupied Western Sahara. The phosphate rock is illegally exploited by the Moroccan government in Western Sahara, a territory that it is brutally occupying. The exports are Morocco’s main source of income from the occupied territories. Representatives of the Saharawis have been consistently outspoken against the trade, both in the UN, generally and to specific companies...In addition to naming the involved companes in a “red list”, this report also identifies potential buyers in a yellow “observation list”, as well as a “green list” of companies previously associated with such trade, but which no longer purchase. WSRW calls on all companies involved in the trade immediately halt all purchases of Western Sahara phosphates until a solution to the conflict has been found. Investors are requested to engage, or divest unless action is taken.

Read the full post here

Company non-response
9 September 2014

Isusa did not respond

Isusa did not respond

Company non-response
9 September 2014

Pequiven did not respond

Pequiven did not respond

Company non-response
9 September 2014

Tripoliven did not respond

Tripoliven did not respond

Company response
9 September 2014

Incitec Pivot response

Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) operates four fertiliser plants in Australia...Phosphate from Western Sahara has been a matter under active consideration by IPL for several years. The matter has been discussed at Annual General Meetings over the past decade and raised in IPL Sustainability Reports including the 2013 Report...IPL representatives meet periodically with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade...IPL representatives have met regularly with the AWSA, most recently in June. We have also met with a Polasario representative in Australia and a representative of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (most recently in May this year)...PL representatives are in contact with OCP and have met with diplomatic representatives of the Kingdom of Morocco...IPL has regard to both Australian law and International law and remains satisfied it is not in breach of Australian law nor International law. The Australian Government has not prohibited the importation of phosphate rock from the Non Self Governing Territory of Western Sahara...

Download the full document here

Company response
3 September 2014

PotashCorp of Saskatchewan Responded

Author: PotashCorp of Saskatchewan, Canada

Thank you for the opportunity to respond. We are mindful of the concerns raised regarding the sourcing of phosphate rock from the Boucraa region in the Western Sahara. PotashCorp remains committed to ensuring that all our suppliers comply with international law and labor practices, as well as the high ethical standards that are defined in our Code of Conduct.

While the long-term governance of Western Sahara is a complex and emotive issue, we have been rigorous in our evaluation of our supplier's (OCP's) activities. Based on a number of assessments - including comprehensive reviews, analyses and visits - we believe that OCP's operations and investments in the region have and continue to provide substantial economic and social benefits to the Saharawi people.

We are committed to open and transparent communications and have published our findings (including an update last month) on our website. We would direct you to the due diligence conducted [report attached]

Download the full document here