Glencore Signs Preliminary Mauritania Rail, Port Pact

Glencore Xstrata Plc reached a preliminary agreement with the Mauritanian government to share a port and railway as the company seeks to develop an iron-ore project in the West African nation, the state-run miner said.

“By this agreement, SNIM confirms it’s opening up to share its rail and port infrastructure with the foreign investors willing to invest in Mauritania to develop our mineral resources,” Societe Nationale Industrielle et Miniere Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Oudaa said today in an interview. The accord will help the development of Glencore’s Askaf project, Oudaa said.

Mauritania is Africa’s biggest exporter of iron ore after South Africa and also produces copper and gold, with companies including Kinross Gold Corp. and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. operating in the country. The nation requires investment of $5 billion to meet its goal of producing 40 million metric tons of iron ore by 2025 from 13 million tons last year, said Oudaa.

A call to the headquarters of Glencore in Baar, Switzerland outside regular office hours seeking comment went unanswered.

(Corrects country in first paragraph of story first published March 31; company corrects to remove reference to value of agreement.)
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