A report published earlier this year on ONHYM's homepages reveals that Morocco is looking for iron in the southern parts of occupied Western Sahara. The report suggests that iron could be found in the territory.
ONHYM, Morocco's state owned oil and mining company, half a year ago made a presentation on the iron deposits in the southern parts of Western Sahara. The report carries the name "Iron Deposits - Southern Provinces, Morocco", and bears no mention of the fact that the area covered by the report is located on occpuied land.
The area was originally occupied by Mauritania in 1975, but when Mauritania withdrew after a peace agreement with Front Polisario, Moroccan forces invaded the zone in 1979. The UN immediately condemned Moroccan invasion, and called Morocco to withdraw, something which they never did. Since then, the UN has stated that exploration or exploitation of the mineral resources in the area is in violation of international law if the local people is not consulted, something which is evident that they are not.
Instead, Morocco keep searching for new minerals.
The released report, which seems to have been made to attract foreign investors, suggests that the geology in the area to the east and south east of the Saharan city of Dakhla bears signs of iron deposits, something which Morocco hopes to commercialise.
"Important magnetic airborne anomalies and favourable geological context, similar to Zouerate deposits in Mauritania", the report summarises, thus repeating something which has been said for decades. The report also claims a "Presence of iron mineralization with grades up to 66% Fe".
The reports was last updated by ONHYM on 31st of January 2008. Download a English and a French version of the report here. The pdf file is named "Moroccan Sahara iron deposits 07".
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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