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Gabès Phosphate Fertilizers Plants of the Tunisian Chemical Group, Tunisia

Mine to coast; the journey of Tunisian phosphate from Gafsa to the fertilezers production plants on the coastal area of Gabés.


From 1972 onward, several phosphate fertilizer plants have been built in the industrial complex of Gabès, exploiting the resources of the Gafsa mines. This complex offers many jobs for this region, which suffers from a high unemployment rate [1]. Nevertheless, in 2013, after the death of two children from diseases caused by radiation, protests began in order to demand the reduction of phosphate pollution in the Gabès District [2]. Civil protesters also organized Internet campaigns on Twitter and Facebook in order to inform the population and try to negotiate with the government [3].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Gabès Phosphate Fertilizers Plants of the Tunisian Chemical Group, Tunisia
State or province:Gabès
Location of conflict:Ghannouch
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Chemical industries
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:Chemical products
Industrial waste
Phosphate fertilizer; Phosphate
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The industrial complex of Gabès has produced the following phosphate fertilizers from 1972 onward:

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Project area:600
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectno data
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:375,000 (Gabès governorate)
Start of the conflict:14/06/2013
Company names or state enterprises: Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GTC) from Tunisia
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mines
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Ministry of Health
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Union Régionale de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche de Gabès
Association de Sauvegarde de l’Oasis de Chenini Gabes (
Association Régionale de la Sauvegarde de la Nature et de l’Environnement de Gabès
SOS Environnement Gabès (
Al-Mustaqbal Al-Akhdar (Green Future)(
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Tunisian Chemical Group have planned the building of a landfill site (far away from Ghannouch, around 20 to 40 km away) for the phosphogypsum which is currently drained away into the gulf. Nevertheless, inhabitants of this site have declared their disagreement with this plan. Moreover, because of economic reasons, the closing of the industrial complex is not planned, nor has any solution for limiting human health impacts and the degradation of the landscape been proposed.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Darmoul B., Hadj Ali Salem M., Vitello P., 1980, “Effets des rejets industriels de la région de Gabès (Tunisie) sur le milieu marin récepteur”, Bulletin de l’Insitut National Scientifique et technique Océanographique, n° 7, pp. 5-61

AYEB H., 2014, Gabès Labess (All is well in Gabès)
[click to view]

Barraud C., 2015, “En Tunisie, le phosphate a saccagé la nature du Golfe de Gabès », Reporterre
[click to view]

2014, “Tunisie : Colère et tension chez les marins-pêcheurs de Gabès”, DirectInfo
[click to view]

Elaiba I., 2013, “Tunisie : Etat des lieux de la pollution causée par le groupe chimiuqe tunisien à Gabès”, HufPost Maghreb
[click to view]

Al-Jazeera, 2013, “Pollution in Gabes, Tunisia's shore of death”, Al-Jazeera
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Youtube page of the Association SOS Envoironnement Gabès
[click to view]

Facebook page of the ASOC
[click to view]

Facebook page of Al-Mustaqbal Al-Akhdar Association
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJAtlas team
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2469
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