“The government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic condemned the resumption of phosphate rock shipments from occupied Western Sahara to Lithuania. A cargo of 75,000 tons is due to be received by the Lithuanian fertilizer company AB Lifosa in Klaipėda later this week,” the country’s state-run news agency Sahara Press Service said.
According to the report, Lifosa was the last company in 2015 to terminate trade with Western Sahara, while Lithuania remains the second-largest buyer of phosphates from the African country.
Jonas Dastikas, CEO of Lifosa that is owned by the Russian chemical industry concern EuroChem Group, maintained the company did not know that the raw materials came from Western Sahara. In his words, supplies of raw materials are organized in a centralized manner for all companies of the group, therefore, the Kėdainiai company is not buying any itself.
“We buy from Morocco, the world’s biggest exporter. We have no idea where they load it, maybe they load it from Sahara, we are not really sure. They are the biggest exporters of phosphates, and we do not really know where it is loaded. Especially since our head in Switzerland (EuroChem Group) buys them for us in a centralized manner,” Dastikas told BNS.
In his words, the company has brought in a single shipment of phosphate rock over the past two years. In three years, after Lifosa is able to produce a sufficient amount of phosphates, it will no longer buy raw materials from abroad, said the CEO.
The United Nations in 2011 excluded Lifosa from the list of socially responsible businesses over imports from Western Sahara.
Russia’s EuroChem Group purchased Lifosa in 2002.