BHP withdraws bid for plunderer, no plans in occupied Western Sahara

The British-Australian mining company BHP Billion has decided not to bid for the Canadian fertiliser firm PCS. Western Sahara Resource Watch previously urged BHP to terminate the imports from occupied Western Sahara if it was to gain control over the company. BHP stated today they have "no plans for activities" in the territory.
Published: 16.11 - 2010 12:43Printer version    
Yesterday, the mining giant BHP Billiton announced in a press release it is not going to pursue its plans to take over Canadian fertiliser firm PCS.

If BHP had succeeded in its efforts to swallow PCS, it would have become the world's biggest importer of phosphates from Western Sahara, and thus the biggest financial contributor to the continued occupation.

"We urge BHP to issue a statement that upon acquiring PotashCorp, all phosphate-imports from occupied Western Sahara will be terminated", stated Western Sahara Resource Watch in a letter to BHP Billiton when the possible take-over was first announced in August. BHP replied that it would take one step at the time, but it would look into the matter.

Replying to a question from WSRW at the firm's Annual General Meeting in Australia today, BHP stated that they have "no plans for activities in Western Sahara".

PCS, on its side, has continued the imports of phosphates from the occupied territory while the take-over soap opera has developed, and has shown no sign of terminating the unethical trade.

"We actually had a hope that a new owner could freshen up the social responsibility of the company and put a halt to the imports from the occupied country. BHP's statement today to not get involved in Western Sahara shows that the Sahrawi's might have lost out on a chance to put a stop to a large part of the trade", stated Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

Read also: BHP's possible take-over of PCS mentioned in Alternative Annual Report



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Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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