Agrium’s import of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara raises serious legal, ethical questions. Steaming towards Vancouver is a freighter holding almost $10 million of phosphate rock from Western Sahara — a region that has been militarily occupied by Morocco since 1975.
When the load arrives around Oct. 24 at Neptune Bulk Terminals in North Vancouver, it could be the first import of conflict minerals coming directly into Canada since the apartheid era in South Africa.
Plight of the Saharawi people
Calgary-based Agrium is the owner of the 60,000 tonnes of phosphate rock aboard the freighter Ultra Bellambi and has entered into an agreement with Moroccan state-owned company OCP to import one million tonnes each year until 2020. Agrium confirmed to The Tyee that at least some of this material is being sourced from Western Sahara.