On Thursday, July 13, OCP Group, a leading global producer of phosphate and fertilizer, notified a South African court that it and its subsidiary Phosboucraa refuse to participate in a trial relating to the April seizure of a vessel transporting its phosphate cargo through South African waters.

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Timeline

  • 28 APRIL
    The United Nations (UN) Security Council calls on Morocco and the Polisario to approach the political process “without preconditions and in good faith.”

  • 29 APRIL
    Responding to a request by the Polisario and the so-called “SADR,” a South African judge orders the seizure of the vessel “Cherry Blossom,” carrying cargo from OCP Group’s Phosboucraa, during an unscheduled stop in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

  • 18 MAY
    A similar seizure attempt of cargo is ordered while in transit through the Panama Canal – thousands of miles away.

  • 5 JUNE
    The Panama court rules against the Polisario, stating it has no “jurisdictional competence” to address the matter and noting the complainant’s inability to demonstrate right of property to the cargo in question.

  • 15 JUNE
    The South African court sends the case against the “Cherry Blossom” forward for a judgement on the merits – despite its acknowledgement of the complexity and international dimensions of the matter.

  • 4 JULY
    At its most recent summit, which concluded on 4 July, the African Union’s membership adopts a resolution re-affirming support for the UN process as the appropriate vehicle for resolution of disputes of the Southern Region.

  • 13 JULY
    OCP Group and its subsidiary Phosboucraa refuse to participate in the South African judicial proceedings and refute the court’s legitimacy to send the matter to trial.

Myths vs. Facts

MYTH

The Phosboucraa phosphate reserves are the most important reserves in Morocco.

FACT

The reserves of Phosboucraa amount to roughly 1.6% of Morocco’s total phosphate reserves.

MYTH

The operation of the Phosboucraa mine does not benefit local communities.

FACT

100% of the profits are reinvested in the region and directly benefit the local population and subcontracts with 50 local companies.

MYTH

The Phosboucraa mining operation ignores environmental safety concerns.

FACT

Phosboucraa is committed to sustainable resource management—thanks to strong innovation, 27 years will be added to the lifespan of the mine, producing 1.5 million cubic meters of water through its own sea water desalination system. Additionally, 99% of Phosboucraa’s energy comes from the Foum el Oued wind farm.

MYTH

All employees of Phosboucraa are from Northern Morocco.

FACT

The percentage of the workforce from the Southern region grew from 4% 40 years ago to 76% in 2017.

MYTH

Phosboucraa activities are illegal.

FACT

Phosboucraa conducts all operations in full compliance with international law and the UN legal framework in respect of natural resources exploitation.

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