A report, launched on 13 June by Western Sahara Resource Watch, reveals that Australia now has just one importer of the controversial phosphate: Incitec Pivot.
Incitec Pivot Limited is one of ten companies on the P for Plunder report’s red list of companies involved in this unethical trade, spending US$11million per annum on the high-grade phosphate to use in the production of superphosphate fertilisers. By coincidence, it is currently receiving yet another phosphate shipment from Western Sahara in Geelong on board the Western FedoraWesfarmers/CSBP is on the orange list of “companies under observation”. This is because although it has put its imports on hold for the past 2 years, it has reserved the right to make a commercial decision to resume if need be.
The only Australian company on the all clear green list is Impact Fertilisers of Australia, which was importing the material to its plant in Hobart until August 2012. Impact then changed its procurement policy and is sourcing its phosphate from elsewhere with no plans to import from Western Sahara in the future.
P for Plunder is a detailed overview of the companies involved in the purchase of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara. The overview is based on two years of tracking and analyzing 98 bulk carriers that arrived in El Aaiun port, Western Sahara, over the course of 2012 and 2013.
The phosphate rock is illegally exploited by the Moroccan government in Western Sahara, a territory that it is brutally occupying. The exports are Morocco’s main source of income from the occupied territory. Representatives of the Saharawi people have been consistently outspoken against the trade. Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) has been protesting to Incitec Pivot since 2006 about their unethical trade. It is hurting the Saharawi people and depleting their natural resource.
“So long as Morocco can go on profiting from the resources of Western Sahara, it has little interest in getting serious about resolving the conflict through the UN peace process”, said Cate Lewis, vice president of AWSA and a member of WSRW. “Incitec Pivot must stop importing now.” WSRW also calls on all the companies involved to stop plundering and on investors to divest from the offending companies.