Company name: Societe Nationale Industrielle et Miniere S.A.
Category: Iron Ore Mining
Location: Nouadhibou, Mauritania
Expertise: Iron ore mining - Tiris region, Zouerate, northern Mauritania
Keywords: Hematite and magnetite.
Telephone number: +222 4574 51 74
Fax: +222 4574 53 96
Other information: Iron ore deposits were first discovered near Kediet ej Jill in 1952 and in 1958 concessions on iron extraction were given to Miferma (which stands for Societe des mines de fer de Mauritanie). Miferma was nationalized by the Mauritanian government in 1974. The industry in the area then gradually evolved, centred on largely on the Zoueratte iron ore mines at Tiris Zemmour.
In 1981 a new iron ore deposit was discovered at Guelb el Rhein, 35 km north of Zouerate and in 1990 another deposit was found at Guelb M'Haoudat, which lies about 65 km from Zouerate.
Currently, SNIM's hematite is mainly mined at Kedia d'Idjill (a mountainous massif extending over approximately 30km around Zouerate) and at M'Haoudat (a 14km ridge located 60 km from Zouerate). Magnetite is mined at Guelb El Rhein, a deposit that contains several hundred million tons of proven reserves. The average iron content of SNIM magnetite is ~37%; this is enriched by dry magnetic separation to give a concentrate containing close to 66% Fe. The Guelbs plant, where these ores are treated, has an annual capacity of 5 million tonnes.
Iron ore is transported to port - a distance of some 700km - on SNIM's own railway. Shiploading facilities are at Point Central, Nouadhibou. The railway line is single track. To allow for two-way traffic, nine sidings are distributed along the line to allow trains to pass. The six daily trains (three empty and three loaded) are towed by four locomotives with 3,300 HP or two locomotives with 4,500 HP carrying a gross tonnage of up to 17,000 tonnes. Trains can be up to 2.5km long.
SNIM aspires to becoming one of the world's top five iron ore exporters by 2025, with a production capacity of 40 million tons of iron ore per year.