Mauritania has significant mineral deposits, in particular iron ore, gold and copper. The economy relies on the mining sector. In 2012, Mauritania was Africa’s second largest producer of iron ore, which is the main export. According to World Bank estimates, iron ore production may rise from 12 million tonnes in 2012 to 18 million tonnes in 2015.
Commercial oil reserves have been found offshore, adding to the reserves at the Chinguetti oil field discovered in 2001. Oil production started in February 2006 and Mauritania's crude oil reserves are estimated at around 600 million barrels, although proven reserves are much smaller. The sector is bound to have a significant share in the economy.
Mineral resources accounted for roughly 75 per cent of total export earnings in 2012, with iron ore, gold, petroleum and copper representing the largest shares. In 2011, the mining sector accounted for around 38 per cent of GDP, up from 32.5 per cent in 2010 (USGS). The mineral sector is projected to grow as several international mining companies are entering the country and export infrastructure is being developed.
Mauritania published both its 2010 and 2011 reports in June of 2013, thereby lifting the temporary suspension imposed upon it by the EITI Board for not meeting the deadline of 31 December 2012 for publishing its 2010 EITI Report. Mauritania is now again fully on track, and aims to be among the first EITI implementing countries to publish its 2012 Report according to the EITI Standard.
- Oil contracts available online www.cnitie.mr/documentspublic/evolutions-recentes.pdf.
- Disaggregated government revenues available online www.cnitie.mr/article.php?categ=36.
- Inclusion of fisheries and environmental impact (discussion underway).