Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the largest company in the Middle East and the 2nd largest diversified chemical company, has commenced Iron ore exploration in Mauritania, a move that strengthens its position as the leading steel manufacturer in the region.
The Saudi conglomerate, which is 70 percent-owned by the government and has interests in chemicals production, fertilizers, industry polymers and metals, is exploring the Atomai Mines in Zouerate, northern Mauritania.
The site is said to hold over 500 million tonnes of iron ore reserves according to initial estimates, Arab News reported.
Sabic has partnered with the Mauritanian National Company for Industry and Mining, following several joint venture agreements started in September, with Abdulaziz Al-Humaid, SABIC’s executive vice president, metals strategic business unit, saying he expects the agreement to run for the next 3 years.
The agreement has seen the establishment of Mauritania Saudi Mining and Steel Company (TAKAMUL), launched to acquire the necessary mining licenses as well as carry out feasibility studies and exploration work.
Sabic aims to shore up raw material sources for its plant in Saudi Arabia, with surpluses expected to be sold to targeted markets.
The mining industry is particularly attractive to keen investors, with total industry production accounting for over 65 percent of total exports. Iron ore represents more than 35 percent of exports.
It is the most important sector of the country’s economy, contributing an estimated 12 percent of total GDP.