Tripoliven U-turns: imports from Western Sahara after all

The Venezuelan subsidiary of FMC Corp, Tripoliven, told WSRW last year that it does not import phosphates from Western Sahara. After a large investigative report in Venezuela, the company admitted the opposite is the fact.
Published: 11.08 - 2014 21:16Printer version    
The Venezuelan company Tripoliven admits it is importing phosphate rock from Western Sahara. The company thus admits it spoke untruly to WSRW last year.

“The rock which we receive which most closely fulfils the requirements of Tripoliven originates from Bou Craa, which we import from Morocco», stated Tripoliven’s president, Nicolás Marín to the Venezuelan investigative website [or download].

The revelations came in a co-publication between Armando and the national newspaper El Universal 10 August 2014 [or download].

WSRW has for a number of years observed that Tripoliven purchases phosphates from Western Sahara. In a letter to Tripoliven in 2013, WSRW confronted the company with recent shipments, with copy to FMC Corp, asking if they import from Western Sahara.

20 February 2013, the CEO of the company stated to WSRW that "Regarding the information you requested, we can inform you that Tripoliven does not import rock from the company OCP"

Yet, something about the answer did not appear correct. After all, WSRW kept observing the vessels voyaging with phosphates into their port directly from the occupied territory.

In emails to the company on 24 April, 2 May and 3 June 2014, WSRW reformulated the question, as to whether their plants in Venezuela are processing phosphate rock with origin in Western Sahara.

WSRW is currently awaiting answer to those letters.

The president of Tripoliven told that the imports constitute a transparent operation. The Venezuelan state also imports to Colombia, the only government owned company involved in such trade internationally.

It is worth noting that FMC Corp, declared to investors in 2012 that neither FMC Corp, FMC Foret nor any of its subsidiaries purchases phosphates from any source, including from Western Sahara (See Letter from Council on Ethics to the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, 31 August 2012, Recommendation to revoke the exclusion of FMC Corporation from the Government Pension Fund Global’s investment universe and, 11.01.2013, FMC: “Neither we nor our subsidiaries import from Western Sahara”). This statement was also given to other investors. Yet, FMC Corp maintained its 33.33% ownership in the subsidiary Tripoliven, which not only import phosphates, but does so from Western Sahara. WSRW confronted FMC Corp regarding Tripoliven’s purchases again in a letter on 4 May 2014.

FMC Corp responded on 13 May 2014 that it “does not have a controlling interest in Tripoliven” and that it had “formally requested that management of Tripoliven respond”. It didn't.

The conclusion is thus that FMC Corp was not right when it stated to investors in 2012 that it does not have subsidiaries involved in this trade, and that Tripoliven was not writing truly in its correspondence with WSRW in 2013.

See everything about the Western Sahara trade in our June 2014 WSRW report P for Plunder.




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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


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.
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.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


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. News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 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