Australian firms
Here are some statements from the Australian firms Incitec Pivot and Wesfarmers CSBP.
Published: 16.09 - 2007 19:21Printer version    
Statement from Incitec Pivot in The Weekly Times 21 June 2006
"Incitec Pivot said it was satisfied it was not breaching international law by importing Western Sahara phosphate as it had been doing for 20 years.

'It is relevant to note that the Federal [national] Government has not prohibited importing resources from the Western Sahara', a spokesman said.


Statement from Incitec Pivot to Pulse Radio Geelong, 10 January 2007
Incitec Pivot is satisfied that it is not breaching international law by importing from its Moroccan supplier phosphate rock mined in the Western Sahara.

The company says it is relevant to note that the Australian Government has not prohibited the importing of resources from the region.

It has met with representatives of the Victorian branch of Australian Western Sahara Association and Kamal Fadel, the West Sahara Polisario's representative in Australia.

Incitec Pivot says it is continuing to watch the Western Sahara situation closely. While there are other sources, suitable phosphate rock is found only in a handful of countries and there is pressure on global supplies.

It has been importing some phosphate rock from Morocco for its single superphosphate plants at Geelong, Portland and Newcastle for 20 years.

Phosphate rock makes up 60 per cent of the 700,000 tonnes of SSP the company produces annually for use by Australian farmers.

All Australian SSP manufacturers use at least some rock from the Western Sahara.

Neville Heydon
Corporate Affairs Adviser
Incitec Pivot
tel 03 8695 4582
mob 0408 123 160


On 20 December 2007 the AGM of IPL was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The company chairman commented on a protest held outside asking them to put imports on hold.
Mr Watson told shareholders that Incitec Pivot had been legally importing phosphate rock from a Moroccan company for 20 years, much of it mined in the Western Sahara.

[...]

"Incitec Pivot is satisfied we are not in breach of any international or Australian laws by doing this," Mr Watson said.

"The Australian Government has not prohibited trade from this region."

Mr Watson said all Australian single superphosphate manufacturers used some rock from the Western Sahara.

"The group protesting here today is urging all Australian producers to cease using this raw material," Mr Watson said.

"If producers were to do this, there would be significant consequences for Australian farmers who rely on superphosphate.

"Globally, phosphate rock is in short supply as sources are limited to a handful of countries and demand is high."

Mr Watson said Incitec had been in talks with representatives of the people of Western Sahara - including the Polisario Front - for about 18 months.

"However, it is difficult for our company to reach a conclusion about the competing claims regarding the sovereignty of the Western Sahara," he said.

"We look to international bodies such as the UN (United Nations) and our own government to guide us on these matters."
http://www.wsrw.org/index.php?cat=107&art=617



CSBP Limited
On 20 January 2006, Keith Gordon of CSBP responded to a letter from AWSA national chair, Nick O'Neill:

"Thank you for your letter dated 4 January 2006. We understand the concern your organisation has about these matters and we hope you will accept that we have given them very serious consideration.

"After obtaining internal and external legal advice, CSBP does not concur with AWSA's position on the legality of importing phosphate rock from the Western Sahara.

"In considering the ethical aspect of this issue, we must necessarily be guided primarily by the position adopted by the Australian government. As you note in your letter, no trading restrictions have been imposed by Australia. We understand also that Australia has not endorsed any particular claim to the region and that it supports a durable political settlement, including the holding of the referendum to which you have referred. In these circumstances, we do not believe it is possible or appropriate for us to unilaterally adopt a policy on the sovereignty issue which has obviously been carefully considered by our national government with all the resources and expertise it possesses.

"Please be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation regarding the Western Sahara to ensure that we remain in full compliance with the policy of the Commonwealth government."


21 December 2007, CSBP says in the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Ian Hansen, the managing director of CSBP, said the company was examining technology that would allow phosphate to be extracted from other sources.
"When this work is complete CSBP will consider its broader social responsibilities to its employees and the farming community as part of any decision," Hansen said in a statement’

    


EN ES FR DE AR

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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