Novel Island Concept for iron ore plant in Mauritania

FLSmidth has been chosen by a large West African mining company to supply a wet concentrator package and a train load-out package for an iron ore mine in Mauritania. The solution offered is based on FLSmidth’s novel Island Concept which entails complete provision of an entire section of the full flowsheet. This gives the customer the advantage that all equipment and technology for a defined part of his plant is supplied from one source.


Founded in 1974, La Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière (SNIM) explores, produces and exports iron ore from its mines and processing plants in north-western Mauritania. The 78% state-owned company also operates the approximately 700 km long railway line from the mine and processing plant near Zouerate to the sea port of Nouadhibou. Gigantic freight trains consisting of up to 220 rail cars and measuring up to 2.5 km in length transport the iron ore to the port. Each train carries a total of up to 22,000 tonnes.

SNIM is the world’s sixth largest iron ore exporter and supplies around 12 million tonnes per year. From Nouadhibou the iron ore is sent by ship to steel plants in primarily Eastern Europe and China. Last year SNIM began a major project to expand its production at the Guelb el Aouj plant. It has signed a contract with FLSmidth to provide all basic and detailed engineering as well as equipment supplies for both the wet concentrator and the rail load-out sections of the 4 million tonnes expansion project.

The wet concentrator package includes

  • a ball mill
  • slurry pumps
  • thickeners for tailings and dust
  • a horizontal belt filter for concentrate and tailings
  • conveyors
  • wet magnetic separators.

The load-out package includes

  • a train load-out system
  • conveyors

Both packages also include instruments and auxiliary equipment for the operation of the facility.

Commissioning of the plant is scheduled to take place in early 2014.