Mesaieed, Qatar — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 February, 2008 – The Qatar Steel Company – formed in 1974 as the first integrated steel plant in the Arabian Gulf – has acquired 49.9 % interest in the Guelb el Aouj Iron Ore project in Northern Mauritania for US$ 375 million (R2.8 billion).
An announcement here reveals that the project comprises three adjacent deposits (Centre, East and West) that together represent a combined resource currently estimated at approximately 1 billion tonnes, with further hedge potentiality. Exploitation of the project is scheduled to commence in 2010 and will involve the mining and beneficiation of magnetite-quartzite ore, and initial production of 7 Mtpa, with further expansion in due course, it adds.
Today, Qatar Steel is widely recognised as a leader in the steel industry, extending its pioneering commitment from an expansive mill site located in the heart of the progressive Mesaieed industrial city, 45 km south of the nation’s capital, Doha.
The project is owned equally by Sphere Investments Limited (Sphere) and the Mauritanian State-owned iron ore company, Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière (SNIM).
Sphere, SNIM and Qatar Steel will now establish a new operating company responsible for developing the project to produce the first 7 million tonnes per annum direct reduction grade pellets in the near future.
Qatar Steel director and general manager, Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Thani said: “We look forward to working together with all parties to bring the Guelb el Aouj project successfully to fruition in the shortest practicable timeframe and – with the support of SNIM, Sphere and the Government of Mauritania – to jointly develop expansion projects based on the extensive resources in the JV Area in consultation with our other partners."
Sphere managing director Alexander Burns welcomed Qatar Steel’s decision to become a major participant and shareholder in the project. He said “We are delighted with the support of Qatar Steel as an equity participant. This support from a major Gulf industrial company will underpin the expansion and value-adding of Mauritania’s established iron ore industry.”