The Mauritania experience in environment in the mining sector: 1999-2010
It is within the framework of the Mining Sector Institutional Reinforcement Project (PRISM-1) of the World Bank, that Tecsult, now AECOM, was first mandated to assist Mauritania in developing the mining sector’s capability to manage environmental aspects of its operations (2001-2003). The efforts are focused on the Environmental Management team (SAE) of the Mauritanian Ministry of Mines and Industry (MMI, now MIM), Mines and Geology Department (DMG).
The specific goals of the mandate included implementing and executing environmental and socio-economics pilot studies, supporting the Ministry in the elaboration, analysis and review of by-laws and guidelines, the reinforcement of the SAE, with respect to environmental management and authorization procedures and the development of an environmental GIS and database.
Then, within the framework of PRISM-2 (2005-2006), AECOM mandate went on by supporting the Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière (SNIM) with the implementation of an Environmental Management System EMS according to ISO 14 000 for Guelbs site in the North of the country. In this area, SNIM activities comprise iron ore extraction, treatment, transportation by mineral train for 700 km and maritime expedition at the mineral port of Nouahibou. Furthermore, AECOM assignment was to reinforce the environmental and social management capacities of municipalities affected by the mining development and the related activities in order for them to latter participate in the EMS to be implement by SNIM.
In parallel, a custom-training to increase governmental agents’ capacity in environmental auditing and management in the mining sector was given to the SAE and the Department of the Environment and Rural Planning (DEAR) of the Ministry of the Rural Development and the Environment (MDRE).
Since, many changes occurred in Mauritania regarding mining environment. Among others, a Minisrty delegated to the Prime Minster in charge of Environment (MDE) was created and environmental issues are now part of the mining sector development process. This communication will present the environmental development that occurred in Mauritania in the mining sector since 1999 via the iinvolvement of the World Bank within the framework of the Mining Sector Institutional Reinforcement Project.