Italian company Bedeschi to aid export of conflict minerals

The Italian company Bedeschi obtained a contract for building infrastructure for export of conflict minerals from occupied Western Sahara. 

13 March 2023

The Italian company Bedeschi SpA has obtained a contract to build three storage facilities in occupied Western Sahara for Morocco's export of conflict phosphates from the territory. 

The company announced the contract on its own website on 4 October 2022 [or download]. Bedeschi refers to the delivery to a "chemical complex of Phosboucraa, 30 km from the city of Laayoune, in the Moroccan Sahara.”

Italian company Bedeschi last year announced it would supply 3 storage facilities to the new and controversial harbour for Morocco's illegal exports of phosphate products from occupied Western Sahara. The Italian supply consists of two storage facilities for fertilizer and one for sulphur.

However, the territory is not “Moroccan” at all. This is confirmed by the UN and by numerous rulings and opinions from the EU Court of Justice, the International Court of Justice and the African Court on Peoples' and Human Rights. 

Western Sahara is under foreign occupation. Morocco's exports of phosphate rock from the territory take place in violation of international law and against the wishes of the owners of the phosphates, the Saharawi people.

Western Sahara Resource Watch on 7 February 2023 wrote a letter to Bedeschi asking why it had signed a contract with a Moroccan state-owned company for the territory. The letter also questions why the firm does not use the UN terminology on Western Sahara, but refers to it as part of Morocco. Bedeschi has not yet responded.

Bedeschi explains on its website that the contract relates to “material handling supply of three new automated storages: two for fertilizer and one for sulphur, for a global storage capacity of 300 thousand tons of material.”

“In particular, the company will supply, among other things, 3 trippers, 3 reclaimers and 6 conveyor belts with capacity of up to 2000 t/h.”, the company states. The website reads that the project has “a strategic importance for the development of the industrial axis known as 'southern axe'.”

Bedeschi is based in Limena, close to Venice, and has one of its international sales offices in Casablanca, Morocco.  

Parts of Western Sahara have been under Moroccan occupation since 1975. The trade of phosphate from the territory is documented in annual reports from Western Sahara Resource Watch titled “P for Plunder”. The latest report was issued in April 2022. 


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