Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) estimates that Lifosa AB, a subsidiary of the Russian firm Eurochem, has received around 295,000 tonnes of phosphate rock from the Bou Craa mines in occupied Western Sahara this year.
Assaying the average value of phosphate in the year to date at around USD 170/tonne, the company has sponsored the Moroccan treasury with approximately USD 50 million in exchange for phosphate rock originating in the parts of Western Sahara that have been occupied by Morocco since 1975. That amount is higher than what the international community spends annually on multilateral humanitarian aid to the Saharawi refugees in Algeria - the legitimate owners of the phosphates that Lifosa is purchasing.
Seven bulk carriers have delivered the Saharan yellow gold to Lifosa at the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania: the m.v. Hemus and the m.v. Slavnik have both made two trips up north, while the m.v. Usolie, the m.v. Balgarka and the m.v. Imperius each are responsible for a single shipment.
Its massive imports bestow Lifosa with the title of second largest importer to date this year, its purchase volumnes only surpassed by US-Canadian fertilizer producer Potash Corporation.
Today, with a cargo of around 40.000 tonnes arriving in the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania, and with another 25.000 tonnes on the way, WSRW has asked Lifosa in a letter "to immediately terminate its imports".
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.
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 three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
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.
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.