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Western Sahara: Over 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate illegally exported by Morocco in 2017

More than 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate of the occupied Western Sahara, worth over USD142 million, were illegally exported by Morocco in 2017, according to a new annual report of the Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), published on Wednesday.

The 5th report of WSRW on Western Sahara phosphate underlines a “total exported volume from Western Sahara in 2017 of 1.59 million tonnes, illegal shipped in 27 bulk vessels.”

Six companies in five countries internationally imported Western Sahara’s phosphate in 2017, and about 70 companies worldwide have been identified as owning or operating the vessels transporting ore. In 2012, there were 15 importers in 12 countries.

The largest importer of Western Sahara’s phosphate in 2017 was “Agrium Inc” (now Nutrien Inc) of Canada. The most heavily involved operator is “Ultrabulk A/S” of Denmark, says the report which released the list of all the countries and all companies involved in this illegal trade in 2017.

The report underlines that the illegally exploited phosphate remains “an important source” of income for the Moroccan government which holds large part of the Western Sahara territory under military occupation, contrary to international law.

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