Only three weeks after nearly a third of its shareholders had requested a human rights review of its imports from occupied Western Sahara, the Canadian fertilizer firm PotashCorp is expecting a giant shipment of phosphate rock from the occupied territory.
On 30 May, a giant vessel carrying 70.000 tonnes of phosphate rock departed from Western Sahara and set sail for PotashCorp's plant in Louisiana, United States. The vessel, ‘Marto’ is a Marshall Islands flagged bulk carrier that arrived in the occupied territories on 9 May.
Just three weeks ago, at PotashCorp's Annual General Meeting on 10 May, 31,6 percent of the company's shareholders
requested an independent human rights assessment to report on the risks of its operations in Western Sahara.
The phosphate mine in Western Sahara is located in the part of Western Sahara that has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975 and is being exploited by Morocco's state-owned phosphate company OCP (Office Chérifien des Phosphates). In 2002, the UN Security Counsel's legal counsel concluded
that the exploitation or exploration of Western Sahara's natural resources is in violation of international law if undertaken in disrespect of the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people. The Saharawis, living under Moroccan occupation or displaced into Algerian refugee camps, have consistently spoken out against the trade in phosphates.
PotashCorp ranked in 2015 as the largest importer of phosphates from Western Sahara. The WSRW report P for Plunder 2015
, published in April this year, revealed that the company had imported an estimated 474,000 tonnes, worth approximately US $ 56,5 million. The company maintains that it cannot stop importing because doing so would involve a "political judgment" on their side.