HeidelbergCement expands in occupied Western Sahara

Last week, the German multinational acquired another cement factory in occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 11.05 - 2020 17:44Printer version    
Photo above: HeidelbergCement already controlled one cement factory in Western Sahara, the CIMAR unit outside of El Aaiun, seen in the picture. Now, they own a second factory nearby.

The Moroccan cement company Cimenteries Marocaines du Sud (CIMSUD), operating a cement production unit near El Aaiún in occupied Western Sahara, has now been taken over by the German company HeidelbergCement.

This is clear from a press release issued on 4 May 2020 by Ciments du Maroc [or download]. The press release explains that the acquisition was finalised on 4 May 2020, following an agreement signed with the previous owner Anouar Invest on 26 July 2019.

The buyer, Ciments du Maroc, is 51% controlled by the German multinational cement group HeidelbergCement.

The cement industry is fundamentally important for the Moroccan occupation of the territory, including settlement policy and key industries that are being developed in violation of international law.

Moroccan media wrote in 2016 that the Anouar group's decision to construct the CIMSUD factory was "in order to support the development of the southern regions in the wake of the many infrastructure investment projects (OCP complex, port, technopole, roads, etc.) and housing projects planned in the southern provinces. The new unit will thus make it possible to meet the growing demand for cement in the region". [or download]

The research division of the German Bundestag just last year published a report on the legal consequences of Morocco's settlement policy in Western Sahara, a territory it has illegally occupied since 1975. Through its production of cement, HeidelbergCement is a key partner of Morocco's illegal annexation and settlement practices as described in the report of the Bundestag division.

From what Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) understands based on media reports, the construction of the CIMSUD factory has met with several delays. CIMSUD "is experiencing delays in construction", Jeune Afrique reported on 30 July 2019 [or download]. "Commissioning was scheduled for July 2017, according to the group's communication. According to our information, it should not be delayed any longer", Jeune Afrique described.

As late as 4 May 2020, the same day as the completion of the HeidelbergCement takeover, Moroccan media reports were not clear as to whether the factory is finished or not. Challenge.ma told that the previous owner Anouar Invest had still not completed the two large investments it had set out some years before - one of which was the CIMSUD.

The CIMSUD factory is thus the second unit that the German group controls on occupied land. Through Ciments du Maroc, HeidelbergCement already owned the CIMAR cement unit on the outskirts of El Aaiun city.

WSRW has on several occasions contacted HeidelbergCement regarding the CIMAR operation, but has never received an answer. The issue of HeidelbergCement's operations on occupied land was addressed at the company’s AGM in 2019 by a Saharawi refugee in the name of the sahrawi youth and of the German NGO 'Kritische Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre'. Instead of answering the question, the company explained that it supports local sports clubs.

The company consistently presents Western Sahara as part of Morocco, in contrast to the United Nations and international courts.

The CIMSUD factory itself was constructed by another German company, ThyssenKrupp, according to a press release of 17 February 2016 [or download]. Here is another undated release from Anouar's initial construction of the factory  [or download].

Since you're here....
WSRW’s work is being read and used more than ever. But our financial situation is tough. Our work takes time, dedication and diligence. But we do it because we believe it matters – and we hope you do too. If everyone who reads our website or likes us on Facebook, would contribute to our work – 3€, 5€, 27€ … what you can spare – the future of WSRW would be much more secure. You can donate to WSRW in less than a minute here.



08.09 - 2020 / 16.06 - 2020Soon 10 years of wrongful imprisonment: release Gdeim Izik group now
08.09 - 2020 / 07.09 - 2020DHL: ignoring Saharawi rights for 5 parcels a day
24.08 - 2020 / 24.08 - 2020Concrete plans for third solar plant in occupied Western Sahara
10.08 - 2020 / 18.07 - 2020Voltalia to construct wind farm in occupied Western Sahara
28.07 - 2020 / 22.07 - 2020Will Deutsche Post's AGM provide clarity on Western Sahara operations?
27.07 - 2020 / 01.07 - 2020New Indian construction company in occupied Western Sahara
27.07 - 2020 / 20.07 - 2020Continental still unclear about future supplies to Western Sahara
22.07 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Conflict Bitcoin miner keeps silent on Dakhla wind farm plans
19.07 - 2020 / 13.07 - 2020Siemens yet again evades questions on Western Sahara
16.07 - 2020 / 29.06 - 2020Namibia slams Spain for failing to respect Saharawi rights
03.07 - 2020 / 02.07 - 2020Swiss supermarkets ban produce from occupied Western Sahara
03.07 - 2020 / 11.06 - 2020HeidelbergCement cites local benefits, ignores consent
02.07 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Fishmeal: German government data confirms import controversy
26.06 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Turkey: biggest funder of occupation of Western Sahara
25.06 - 2020 / 05.05 - 2020These are the vessels that provide fuel for the occupation
23.06 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Protesters set up roadblock to stop conflict minerals in New Zealand
13.06 - 2020 / 13.06 - 2020WSRW urges shareholders to challenge Continental
06.06 - 2020 / 06.06 - 2020Norwegian gas transport avoids Western Sahara at last minute
28.05 - 2020 / 28.05 - 2020World Bank removed erroneous maps
27.05 - 2020 / 27.04 - 2020Russia-Morocco controversial fisheries deal on the horizon


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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


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

WSRW.org News Archive 2020
WSRW.org News Archive 2019
WSRW.org News Archive 2018
WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006

Register for our English newsletter:

These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy