Nouakchott, Mauritania — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 November 2010 – Swiss mining group Xstrata Plc “’ which is in the process of buying three iron ore projects in Mauritania through Sphere Minerals Limited “’ is to invest US$6 billion (R41.4 billion) in the West African country to produce 50Mtpa of iron ore.
Revealing this at a conference here, industry and mines minister Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Oudaa said that Xstrata, based in Zug, Switzerland, planned to achieve the production figure in what he called the “short term.”
“It’s far too early in the process to commit to actual numbers,” said Xstrata spokesman Mike Bartlett by telephone from London. “Xstrata is committed to creating a world-class iron ore business and clearly Mauritania will play a key part.”
Xstrata, seeking to boost access to ore supplies as prices rise, is close to completing the US$520 million (R3.5 billion) purchase of Sphere, after securing acceptances from more than half of the Australian company’s shareholders. Sphere’s projects in Mauritania include half of the US$1.65 billion (R11.3 billion) Guelb el Aouj development.
“Information already in the market place suggests these assets could produce up to 50Mtpa,” Bartlett said. “But again, this is aspirational at this stage.”