GAFSA – Phosphate rocks, rich is phosphorus, are the basis for most fertilisers. With growing demand for food worldwide and a growing need for fertilizers, phosphates are quickly becoming
one of the most disputed minerals. One of the crucial phosphate basins is located in southern Tunisia, and the EU growing fertilisers market is drying up the area.

The European Commission recently included phosphate in its list of critical raw materials - essential to the future production of goods and services in the EU. In search for alternatives to Russia, another major phosphates exporter, the EU started looking southwards. While Morocco continues to dominate the global market  Tunisia sits on the 4th biggest global reserve of phosphate rocks.  

But phosphate extraction comes at a high price. In the Gafsa basin, where Tunisian phosphates come from, local communities are impacted by water scarcity and pollution.  Mining in Gafsa started at the end of the 19th century, under French colonialism. A century later, the exploitation and depletion of a land that would otherwise be one of the richest in Tunisia, continues in ways that are different only on the surface.  

 Photo credit: Daniela Sala  

Team members

Daniela Sala

Daniela Sala is an Italian award-winning multimedia journalist.

Daniela Sala

Arianna Poletti

Arianna Poletti is a freelance journalist based in Tunisia.

Arianna Poletti

Sofian Philip Naceur

Sofian Philip Naceur is a freelance journalist and former Egypt correspondent.

19,500 allocated on 28/08/2023



  • Tunisia

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