ONHYM continues to market uranium potential of Western Sahara
The Moroccan state-owned oil company ONHYM continues to promote the uranium potential of occupied Western Sahara. WSRW believes that the Romanian geophysical research company Prospectiuni is involved in the ground work.
In a report from November 2011, ONHYM presents further details about the Aghracha prospect – located in the Awserd region, at 180 km south-east of the city of Dakhla. Geological explorations in the area started in 2008. Further airborne aeromagnetic studies in 2010 highlighted a number of promising uranium deposits.
The photo above appeared in the report.
Several uranium indications had already been identified in 2006 and 2007: volcanic structures with high levels of uranium, tantalum and niobium were discovered in Glibat Lahfouda and Twihinate, both located in the southern parts of Western Sahara. The Glibat Lahfouda deposit is estimated at 49 million tonnes, while the Twihinate deposit would contain 346 million tonnes of uranium-rich substance. Further geophysical studies are ongoing in Drag, Al Faham and Lamlaga, all located in the Awserd region.
The report states that “several foreign companies are in negotiations with ONHYM for the conclusion of research and development agreements.”
WSRW believes that one of the companies involved in the geophysical surveys, is the Romanian company Prospectiuni. WSRW first noted Prospectiuni’s presence in the Dakhla area in December 2006.
Pictures shot in the area in 2007, suggest that the company is participating in the exploration of lucrative minerals in occupied Western Sahara. See those pictures below.
WSRW has contacted Prospectiuni regarding its presence in occupied Western Sahara, but so far has not received any replies.
According to local sources, the Prospectiuni-site is heavily guarded by the Moroccan army, which is said to have sealed off the premises. An estimated 70 people are working on the Prospectiuni site: all are either employees of the company or of ONHYM. No Saharawi are employed in the explorative ground work. Every three to four days, trucks are spotted leaving the site, accompanied by army-patrols.
According to the UN, exploration of natural resources in Western Sahara cannot take place without prior consultation of the Saharawi people.
Prospectiuni vehicles photographed in Dakhla, early 2007.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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.