New Zealand underwater mining could replace Sahara imports
Phosphate mining 400 meters under the sea could start replacing New Zealand imports of Western Sahara phosphate rock already in 2013.
Published: 03.01 - 2011 21:09Printer version    
The two Kiwi fertilizer firms Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Ravensdown contribute to a violation of international law, by importing phosphates from the occupying power Morocco.

Ballance and Ravensdown purchase up to 1 million tonnes of phosphates from the occupied territory of Western Sahara annually, directly contributing to the continued oppression of the Sahrawi people.

This has made New Zealand one of the main financial supporters of the illegal occupation for the last decades.

The transportation itself of phosphates from Western Sahara to New Zealand costs 70 USD/tonne, according to the website on 3 January 2011. This comes in addition to the phosphate itself, which the Moroccan government is selling for 140 dollars/tonne.

Future underwater mining offshore New Zealand could lead to a halt of the unethcial imports. The underwater phosphate deposits are located in an area called Chatham Rise, and one of the firms looking into the possibilities, Widespread Energy, say a mine could start production already in 2013. Widespread sees the governmental approvals and funding as the main obstacles.



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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