PotashCorp expecting fourth unethical phosphate cargo in June

Late last week, a bulk vessel left the harbour of El Aaiun to set sail for the United States. In its holds? An estimated 50,000 tonnes of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 09.06 - 2015 14:41Printer version    
The Singaporese bulk carrier Alam Molek (IMO 9717072) is the fourth vessel this year making its way across the Pacific Ocean to PotashCorp's phosphoric acid production plant in Geismar, Louisiana, United States, where it is expected to arrive on the 20th of June.

The phosphate rock  in the Alam Molek's holds was illegally excavated in Western Sahara - a Non-Self Governing Territory that is largely occupied by Morocco since 1975. Western Sahara's phosphate deposits  are controlled by Morocco's state-owned phosphate company OCP, which sells them off to phosphate producers around the world. OCP has made headlines in the United States for providing "Blood Phosphate money" to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The trade in Western Saharan phosphates is considered in violation of international law. A UN Legal Opinion of 2002 clearly states that any such economic activity that is undertaken in disregard of the interests and the wishes of the Saharawi people, is unlawful. In addition to the settled principle of international law that the Saharawi people are the sole sovereigns to their resources – and so must both consent to their development and be the recipients of the benefit of them – there is international humanitarian law, prohibiting outright the taking of resources under armed occupation as the war crime of pillage, and making it a criminal act for persons and corporations to help in such an act. Furthermore, paying Morocco for resources that come from the territory it holds under military occupation, doesn't give the country any incentive to reconsider its illegal presence there.

WSRW has documented Morocco's phosphate exports from Western Sahara in its "P For Plunder" reports of 2013 and 2014, describing the trade in all its aspects (volumes, values, clients) for these respective years.

Canada's PotashCorp has the longest track record of importing phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara.
So far, the Canadiancompany has always defended its imports, but this year even its shareholders started to question the company's dealings in Western Sahara.

So far this year, the phosphate export from Western Sahara is exceptionally low. PotashCorp is taking the lead as the biggest importer this year, as opposed to last year, when the lion share of Saharawi phosphate rock ended up with the other Canadian fertilizer producer; Agrium Inc.




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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