The Russian company “Stroytransgaz Logistics” of billionaire Gennady Timchenko received permission from the Syrian authorities to mine phosphates, as well as a contract to operate the port of Tartus for their deliveries abroad. The Financial Times writes about it.
According to the newspaper, the plant in Homs, which is called “key” for the production of phosphates in Syria, “Stroytransgaz Logistics” came in April. Local media write that Timchenko is cooperating with the state-owned Syrian company General Fertilizer Company. The FT’s interlocutors claim that the mercenaries of a Russian private military company are guarding the plant in Homs.
Unnamed sources say that Syria is now exporting phosphate from its reserves, and there is no new production in the country. “Stroytransgaz seems to have rights to extract Syrian phosphate, but it is unclear whether it has actually started mining,” the Financial Times writes.
The representative of Stroytransgaz insists that neither the company nor its “daughters” had contracts in Syria.
At the same time, the General Directorate of Geology and Mineral Resources of Syria in the summer of 2017 reported that the company “Stroytransgaz” began work to restore the country’s largest phosphate development near Palmyra and prepare for the extraction of raw materials .
Syria is one of the world leaders in phosphate reserves, which are needed for fertilizer production. Before the war, the country exported three million tons of phosphate, but by 2016 exports had stopped. In recent years, the industry has begun to recover, and this year the supply of phosphates from Syria will reach 460,000 tons.
Supplies of phosphates from Syria are not subject to EU sanctions.
Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, who has been repeatedly described by the media as an old friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is under US and EU sanctions.