Phosphate production refalls in Tunisia due to protests

Tunisia _ Agencies

Phosphate production in Tunisia, the fourth global producer of the substance, slipped again during 2018 following the continuation of social protests, according to a government company that monopolized extractive operations.

The production will not reach the level of three million tonnes by the end of 2018 after registering 1.4 million tonnes in 2017, the Gafsa phosphate company told AFP on Friday.

The production process was halted by 70 percent at extraction sites due to protests against the results of an employment match, said the media officer of Gafsa phosphate company Ali Hawshati, adding "a month before the end of the year, production reached the level of 2.8 million tons amid estimated annual production of 2.6 million tons during 2018, after registering a remarkable improvement in production, it reached 4 million tons in 2017. "

According to the company's official, "it is difficult to reach the number of three million tons until the end of 2018", especially after the resumption of protests a week ago in the area of the Mongi, after the results of a recruitment match for the company were rejected by the participants.

The spiral of social protests is repeated in the mining basin, most recent in January following the announcement of the results of a recruitment competition for the state-made phosphate company.

The state-of-the-order phosphate company is one of the most important international producers and has many production sites, the most important of which are in the world, the mother of brides, the reserve and the night

Residents of the mining basin, one of Tunisia's most marginalized areas, carried out protests, sit-ins and disrupted production operations, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

Phosphate is a strategic sector in the Tunisian economy and accounts for 3 percent of the country's total exports.

The company is facing financial losses due to continuing social unrest and in 2010 it recorded a production record of nearly eight million tons.

According to the Institute of Statistics (government), industrial production declined during the first nine months of 2018 by about 0.7 percent, as a result of the decline in oil extraction and crude phosphate and its derivatives.

Tunisia is expected to achieve a growth rate of 2.6 percent by the end of 2018 after years of economic recession since the 2011 revolution.


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