Published 16 March 2018
122 – 1st Avenue South
Saskatoon SK S7K 7G3
21 February 2018
To the attention of Mr Chuck Magro
President and Chief Executive Officer of Nutrien Ltd
Re: Nutrien’s intention to end imports from Western Sahara and 2017 imports from the territory to Agrium and Potash Corp.
Dear Mr Magro,
We have the honour to present you our compliments. We are writing with regard to Nutrien’s continued imports from Western Sahara, its statements on 25 January 2018 on the matter, and, additionally, regarding the 2017 imports of phosphate rock from the territory through Agrium Inc and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.
To commence with the latter: in 2017, we’ve tracked nine shipments from Western Sahara to Vancouver, transporting an estimated total of 529,840 tonnes of phosphate rock with a value of around US $45.5 million. In addition, we’ve observed another five shipments departing Western Sahara with destination Baton Rouge (where Potash Corp takes in its shipments), carrying a projected total of 382,000 tonnes of phosphate rock worth approx. US $34 million.
In April 2018, we will publish our annual overview report of the Western Sahara phosphate trade for 2017. Given the above volumes, Nutrien’s legacy firms Agrium and Potash Corp will take up the top spots in the 2017 ranking of companies purchasing the commodity.
We would be grateful if you could answer the following questions:
1. Can you confirm the above-mentioned volumes shipped to Agrium and PotashCorp in 2017?
2. Did Agrium and Potash Corp seek the consent of the representatives of the people of Western Sahara prior to importing from their territory?
At the same time, we take note of your stated intention to stop importing phosphate rock from Western Sahara into Canada, as conveyed at the investor conference in Whistler on 25 January 2018. It is our understanding that Agrium’s contract covering the imports will end this year. It remains to be seen how the legacy Potash Corp asset will proceed with regard to its Western Sahara imports: a decision on the matter is expected to be communicated mid-2018.
3. When exactly does the Agrium contract covering phosphate rock imports from Western Sahara end? Until that time, will more shipments be received in Vancouver?
4. Upon termination of the contract, will Nutrien consider informing the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler, and with the Saharawi liberation movement, the Polisario Front?
5. It is argued that the Potash Corp imports from Western Sahara are related to the production of specialty products. What share of Nutrien’s total earnings or product range is dependent on the continued imports from the last colony in Africa? Do these outweigh the potential risk of legal proceedings brought by the Polisario Front (which is at present initiating cases against private companies in European courts)?
We remain of the view that it is in the best interest of Nutrien not to be associated with importing minerals from Western Sahara, and expect to see a clear statement from the company during the course of 2018 that it will halt all further imports.
Western Sahara Resource Watch
A copy of this letter was sent to:
- Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ms Chrystia Freeland
- Canada’s United Church leader, Mr Jordan Cantwell
- United for Mining Justice social action network
- SHARE, Mr Peter Chapman
- Mining Watch Canada, Mr Jamie Kneen
- UN Special Representative for Western Sahara and Head of UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, Mr Colin Stewart
- Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler