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NZ now second biggest importer of plundered phosphate

The Western Sahara Campaign-NZ expresses its disappointment that New Zealand is now the second biggest importer of plundered Western Sahara phosphate. The illegally exploited phosphate rock is the Moroccan government’s main source of income from the territory it holds contrary to international law. Representatives of the Saharawi people have been consistently outspoken against the trade, both in the UN, generally, and to specific companies.

A report, complete for the calendar year of 2016, was released yesterday, 26/04/2017, by Western Sahara Resource Watch, naming all shipments of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara. This report attributes the purchases of Morocco’s production in Western Sahara in 2016 to eight identified, and one unknown, importing companies in eight countries internationally. Those include the New Zealand farmer owned cooperatives Ravensdown and Ballance.

Download the report here (6 MB)

The report details the total exported volume from Western Sahara in 2016 at 1.86 million tonnes, with an estimated value of $213,7 million, shipped in 37 bulk vessels. That constitutes a slight increase in exports since 2015, after infrastructure failures for the exporter caused unusually low numbers in 2015. The largest importer in 2016 was Agrium Inc. from Canada.

Several clients internationally have abstained from the controversial imports over the last year. A remarkable development of 2016 was the entry into the game of a subsidiary of OCP in India. OCP exported a volume of 344,000 tonnes phosphate rock to its own company in India, at a value of $ 39,6 million. This made OCP’s Indian joint-venture the second largest importer of OCP’s own exports from Western Sahara. OCP is part-owning the joint-venture together with the Indian government.

Of the identified importing companies in 2016, three are registered on international stock exchanges or are majority owned by listed enterprises. All have been subject to blacklisting by ethically concerned investors because of this trade.

Of the remaining six companies, two are the New Zealand farmer owned cooperatives Ravensdown and Ballance, two are fully or partially owned by the Government of Venezuela, one is partially owned by the Government of India, and one is privately owned.

Similar P for Plunder reports were also published in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Western Sahara Campaign-NZ calls on all New Zealand companies involved in the trade to immediately halt all purchases of Western Sahara phosphates until a solution to the conflict has been found and the Saharawi people have been assured the exercise of their fundamental right to self-determination. Investors are requested to engage or divest unless companies commit clearly to withdrawing from the trade.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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