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:

30.11 - 2016 / 30.11 - 2016Police refused these Saharawis access to "green" energy brief
28.11 - 2016 / 28.11 - 2016Western Sahara occupation soon to electrify EU?
24.11 - 2016 / 24.11 - 2016Beaten for protesting these importers of controversial phosphate
23.11 - 2016 / 21.11 - 2016EU funding to fish sector in occupied Western Sahara increases
18.11 - 2016 / 18.11 - 2016Euro-Parliamentarians oppose occupation energy imports
18.11 - 2016 / 20.07 - 2016First season in Switzerland without occupation tomatoes?
16.11 - 2016 / 16.11 - 2016Deal for solar plants in occupied Western Sahara signed at COP22
15.11 - 2016 / 10.11 - 2016Three Saudi firms named in bid for solar plants in Western Sahara
15.11 - 2016 / 15.11 - 2016Status of San Leon oil block still undetermined
10.11 - 2016 / 10.11 - 2016BKM spokesperson: expelled African Parliament VP was COP22 accredited
09.11 - 2016 / 09.11 - 2016UNFCCC seeks answers from Morocco on parliamentarian expulsion
07.11 - 2016 / 07.11 - 2016COP22: Ban Ki-Moon raised Moroccan propaganda with UNFCCC
07.11 - 2016 / 07.11 - 2016Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister namedrops invasion at COP22 opening
07.11 - 2016 / 07.11 - 2016Expelled:African Parliament vice-president denied taking part in COP22
06.11 - 2016 / 06.11 - 2016Here are the people Siemens doesn't bother to talk to
05.11 - 2016 / 05.11 - 2016COP22 with yet another propaganda stunt
04.11 - 2016 / 04.11 - 2016UN committee concerned of lack of Saharawi consent over resources
04.11 - 2016 / 03.11 - 2016Moroccan king's "green" company silent on human rights
03.11 - 2016 / 01.11 - 2016Here is the "phosphate windmill park"
02.11 - 2016 / 02.11 - 2016Former UN Legal Counsel slams Morocco’s wind projects




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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.
Report: COP22 controversy - Moroccan green energy used for plunder

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At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
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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