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
NameGabès Phosphate Fertilizers Plants of the Tunisian Chemical Group, Tunisia
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 CommoditiesPhosphate fertilizer; Phosphate
Industrial waste
Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe industrial complex of Gabès has produced the following phosphate fertilizers from 1972 onward:

1) Diammonium phosphate (production of 1.3 million tons/year)

2) Phosphoric acid (875,000 tons/year)

3) Calcium phosphate (90,000tons/year)

4) Ammonium nitrate (capacity of 330,000 tons/year)

Phosphate is the main mining product of the country; its exploitation, by the public sector, represents 3% of the GPD and 10% of exports
Project Area (in hectares)600
Level of Investment (in USD)no data
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population375,000 (Gabès governorate)
Start Date14/06/2013
Company Names or State Enterprises Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GTC) from Tunisia
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Industry, Energy and Mines

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development

Ministry of Health
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersUnion 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)(
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationMedia 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-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

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

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


Rahali F., 2013, “Gabès, cité antique de Takapes : une terre maudite ?”, Nawaat
[click to view]

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

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

Rahali F., 2013, “Gabès, cité antique de Takapes : une terre maudite ?”, Nawaat
[click to view]

Media Links

Facebook page of the ASOC
[click to view]

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

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

Other Documents

The Chott Esselam beach in Gabes, situated next to the phosphate plant, is sometimes called the 'shore of death' by environmental activists [Thessa Lageman/Al Jazeera] Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEJAtlas team
Last update28/11/2016