New Zealand's fertiliser industry sources the majority of its phosphate rock from a mining company called Phosboucraa.
Phosboucraa is a phosphate rock mine in Western Sahara. It was established in 1962 by the Spanish state-owned company INI with mining operations at Boucraa starting in 1972. OCP Group acquired a 65% ownership share of Phosboucraa in 1976 and became the sole owner in 2002. Its activity consists of mining, processing and marketing phosphate rock.
Phosphate rock from Western Sahara is used for the manufacture of superphosphate fertiliser.
PhosBoucraa rock is ideal for New Zealand's specific soil conditions and environmental constraints. It is high in phosphorus and has relatively low cadmium levels compared to the very high levels in Nauru rock, which was used prior to accessing Phosboucraa as a major supply.
Phosboucraa is the largest employer of local people in the region. Over 2,000 people are employed and many of them are Saharawi, including the Chairman of Phosboucraa. According to OCP, 76% of the workers were local in 2017, compared to only 4% in the 1970s, with nearly 100% of new employees now hired locally.
Regularly reviewed by KPMG, all OCP's operations and activities, including Phosboucraa, meet and go beyond national and international standards for health and safety, environmental quality and sustainability. OCP has been awarded the International Fertilizer Association Industry Stewardship Gold Medal 2 years in a row.
The Phosboucraa Foundation was established in 2014 to administer Phosboucraa's corporate sustainability programmes in the region, supporting its employees and the broader local community with significant socio-economic benefits.
These include the construction and support of pre and primary schools for local children, housing for Phosboucraa's workers and retirees, and the provision of services, medical clinics, recreational centres and learning centres serving the local community, which are particularly focused on opportunities for youth and women.
OCP provides evidence that all funds from the phosphate mine are either reinvested in the mining operation or invested in programmes that benefit the local people.
OCP financial data confirms that it has taken no dividends from the operation of Phosboucraa, with all profits reinvested in the region to maintain and expand operations and to support the local community.
Click on the button to find out more about OCP's sustainability approach.