(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is conducting a feasibility study and is carrying out iron ore exploration at the Atomai Mines in Zouerate, northern Mauritania, under joint venture agreements with the Mauritanian company, National Company for Industry and Mining.
Announcing this move at the Mauritania Investment Forum in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Abdulaziz Al-Humaid, SABIC's executive vice president, metals strategic business unit, said excavation work as part of the agreements began in September and is expected to continue for three years, Arab News reported
Under the agreements a new company, Mauritania Saudi Mining and Steel Company (TAKAMUL) has been established
Besides carrying out the exploration work and conducting the feasibility study, TAKAMUL will also work towards obtaining the required mining licenses
SABIC has made this move to strengthen its position as the largest steel manufacturer in the Middle East and to secure cost-effective and quality raw materials. SABIC will make a decision on whether to continue investing in the project after the outcome of the exploration and feasibility study
The ultimate aim of the project is to produce raw material for the company's plants in the Kingdom and export any surplus to targeted markets
Initial estimates indicate that the Atomai Mines have a reserve of 500 million tons of iron ore
The technical study could possibly reveal even higher reserves of up to a billion tons
Atomai Mines are known for their high content of high quality iron, among the best in the world, with a low cost of extraction
SABIC's decision on investing in the Atomai Mines project is the result of a technical and economic study conducted by a specialized SABIC team, which had also studied various other investment opportunities.