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Mauritania landscape

Country summary

General information

Mauritania is located in north-west Africa and spans North and sub-Saharan Africa. It borders Algeria in the north-east, Western Sahara in the north, Mali in the east and south and Senegal in the south-west. To the west, Mauritania has a 700-kilometre coastline on the Atlantic. The north lies in the Sahara Desert and most of the country is arid. Many Mauritanians subsist through herding and small-scale agriculture, made more difficult through worsening desertification. Mauritania's flatlands and plateau are punctuated by peaks containing mineral deposits, including iron ore. Mauritania has rich coastal fishing stocks. The country began oil production in February 2006.

Government organisation

Mauritania became independent as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in 1960 with the leader of the Union Progressiste Maurianienne (UPM), Moktar Ould Daddah, as President. France continued to provide aid, and with a strong fishing industry and mineral resources, hopes were raised for the economic prospects of the country. At the time of independence, the vast majority of Mauritanians were still nomadic.

A national referendum in July 1991 provided for universal suffrage and elections for president, senate and prime minister. 1992 saw the country's first multi-party election. Parliamentary elections in 1992 and 1996 yielded increases for opposition parties in Mauritania. In 2008 a coup ended the rule of Ely Ould Mohamed Vall who had also gained power through a coup d'état. The coup leader Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz took the oath as president in August 2009. France and the United States of America have endorsed the new leadership of Mauritania.

Mining industry

Iron ore production and export is the largest source of revenue for the state. Exploration has shown important signs of mineral deposits. In 2006, copper production began and gold production will follow shortly. The government continues to grant licences to foreign companies for mineral research and exploration. Property rights are protected under the Mauritanian Civil Code, which is modeled on the French Code.

Transafrika permit areas

GeologicalLarge areas underexplored.
ClimateLow rainfall area.
SocialLow population density.
PoliticalStable. Culture of accountability in key ministries prevails.
LegalMining laws are in place as well as dispute resolution structures.
EnvironmentalInitially, surface disturbance will be minimal.
SecurityNo significant internal military threat with low levels of criminal activity.

Location map

TransAfrika has exploration permits in Mauritania, covering an area of 742 700ha.

Kaouat Iron Ore profile

April 2010

Kaouat iron ore project
(PDF - 1.12MB)

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