The Australian fertilizer company first promised to answer questions on the imports of conflict minerals from occupied Western Sahara. Then it went silent.
The above picture shows the bulk vessel Clipper Isadora on its way through the Suez Canal, on 16 September 2022, heading towards Geelong, Australia. The ship contained phosphate rock for Incitec Pivot. Download high resolution of picture here.
Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) in September 2022 revealed that the Australian fertilizer company Incitec Pivot Ltd (IPL) was about to take in a cargo of phosphate rock from occupied Western Sahara. The cargo was purchased from OCP, a Moroccan state-owned company, which operates the Bou Craa mine on the land under occupation. As such, Incitec Pivot again took part in the financing and political normalisation of the brutal annexation.
This was the first such import to Incitec - and Australia - since 2016.
As the ship had just passed the Suez Canal, on 20 September 2022, WSRW wrote to the company. Incitec's Vice President confirmed two days later that he had forwarded the request to his colleagues and that the company would "come back to you as soon the team provide an update".
Incitec Pivot's management met with Australian trade unionists on 27 September 2022, and informed them that the letter from WSRW was about to be responded to.
WSRW reminded the company on 6 February 2022 that it had still not received any reply.
WSRW has learnt that there is also an apparent silence from IPL vis-à-vis its own shareholders. Additionally, WSRW is aware of at least two IPL investors who have not received responses to requests over the controversy.
As Incitec Pivot was involved in the trade until 2016, numerous investors internationally had excluded the company from their portfolios due to the matter.
Apart from IPL, the management of Geelong Port, where the shipment came in, also fails to respond to questions. WSRW first wrote to the CEO of the port on 20 September 2022 that “We notice on the website of Geelong Port that your company has a vision of sustainability. We have a question to your company: In your view, how does your company’s vision on sustainability match with imports of conflict minerals from an occupied territory?”. No reply was received. A new letter was sent on 9 February 2023, which was also left unanswered.
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