Another Canadian company starts importing from occupied Western Sahara
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Agrium Inc, a Canadian agro-business, is expecting its first shipment of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara by the end of the month. The matter has attracted media attention in Canada,  stating that "it could be the first import of conflict minerals coming directly into Canada since the apartheid era in South Africa".
Published: 16.10 - 2013 16:16Printer version    
Photo: Neptune Bulk Terminals in Vancouver, where the first shipment of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara to Canada is to arrive on 24 October 2013.

On 24 October, the bulk carrier Ultra Bellambi is scheduled to arrive at Vancouver. On board of the freighter are 60.000 tonnes of phosphate rock from the Bou Craa mines in Western Sahara. The cargo is worth almost $10 million. That money however, will not end up with the Saharawi people of Western Sahara - the original and sole people of the territory - but with the Moroccan regime that has occupied large parts of their country since 1975.

The phosphate rock was purchased by Calgary based Agrium Inc, under the terms of an agreement it concluded earlier this year with Moroccan state owned company Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP). Agrium confirmed to Canadian newspaper The Tyee that it would import one million tonnes each year until 2020, and that part of the imports will be sourced in Western Sahara.

Western Sahara Resource Watch has contacted Agrium Inc in April this year, calling on the company to refrain from importing from the Bou Craa mines in Western Sahara through their contract with OCP.

Agrium responded that "on issues related to disputed territorial claims, Agrium looks to guidance from the Canadian and US governments before entering into any agreement which may be related to the territory. Agrium's agreement with OCP complies with the respective trade and customs laws of these jurisdictions."

WSRW has today sent another letter to the company, denouncing the imports and asking for disclosure of cited legal evaluations.

A UN Legal Opinion on exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources is quite clear that such activity is illegal if not done in accordance with the wishes and the interests of the people of the territory - the Saharawi. The latter have unequivocally stated that they do not consent to Agrium's imports, through a letter by their political representation Frente Polisario to the company.

The Tyee quotes Peter Chapman, executive director of the shareholder advisory organization SHARE, "If it's not possible to purchase phosphate rock from Western Sahara in a manner that's consistent with international law, then that would be a concern to institutional investors, particularly those investors that believe that the rule of law is important to the long term health of capital markets."

The Swedish government pension funds announced late September that it had decided to exclude Canadian company PotashCorp for importing phosphate from Western Sahara. In 2010, the Norwegian Pension Fund also decided to divest from the company because they considered such imports "grossly unethical."

    

Top
News:

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20.09 - 2016 / 20.09 - 2016Interview with Gilles Devers, Polisario's lawyer in the EU Courts
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18.09 - 2016 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
17.09 - 2016 / 17.09 - 2016Key Bay has arrived France with cargo from Western Sahara
15.09 - 2016 / 15.09 - 2016French customs will not tariff fish oil vessel
13.09 - 2016 / 13.09 - 2016EP rapporteur: "EU complicity in the illegal occupation must stop"
13.09 - 2016 / 13.09 - 2016EU Court Advocate; Western Sahara is not part of EU-Morocco trade deal
10.09 - 2016 / 10.09 - 2016Fish oil cargo to arrive EU - despite court decision
01.09 - 2016 / 01.09 - 2016Join Amnesty campaign for the Saharawi prisoners
25.08 - 2016 / 25.08 - 2016Polish company states 'political reasons' for departing Western Sahara
18.08 - 2016 / 02.08 - 2016San Leon/PetroMaroc study delayed and fined
31.07 - 2016 / 31.07 - 2016The oil map is changing in occupied Western Sahara
18.07 - 2016 / 29.06 - 2016Kosmos cites political arguments to operate in Western Sahara
18.07 - 2016 / 18.07 - 2016See how the controversial plantations boomed in the desert
11.07 - 2016 / 11.07 - 2016WSRW concerned over increased Agrium imports
28.06 - 2016 / 28.06 - 2016World's largest wealth fund drops Cairn and Kosmos over Western Sahara
28.06 - 2016 / 28.06 - 2016WSRW demands Polish state oil company to leave Western Sahara
27.06 - 2016 / 24.06 - 2016Wave of divestments over Western Sahara
24.06 - 2016 / 22.06 - 2016Moroccan group to intervene in EU Court case about occupied Sahara




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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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

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Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
The Western Sahara oil curse

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Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

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On 17 February 2013, in a mockery of justice, a Moroccan military court condemned 25 Saharawi citizens to shockingly tough prison sentences. Help us to release the Gdeim Izik 25.

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