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Western Sahara

In May, a Moroccan state mining company, OCP, bought back phosphate that it had illegally mined in, and shipped from, Western Sahara. Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.

The 50,000 tonnes of phosphate rock was seized in South Africa by court order a year ago (PN 2606 – 2607). It was put up for auction back in March, with a starting price of $1 million. The proceeds were due to go to Western Sahara’s national liberation movement, the Polisario Front.

OCP claimed that it bought the rock back for a symbolic $1 (after covering the auctioneer’s costs). Polisario claimed the auction was a success, but did not reveal how much the phosphate was sold for.

International organisations fail to recognise the occupation of Western Sahara, Western Sahara Resource Watch points out.

At the end of March, OPEC, the oil-producers group, referred to a Saharawi city as ‘Dakhla, Morocco’.

A study of Morocco’s renewable energy plans by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in April failed to acknowledge that a lot of the projects are in occupied Western Sahara (there was ‘Western Sahara’ at all, even in maps of Morocco).


Topics: Western Sahara