SNIM - Societe Nationale Industrielle et Miniere
The ore train. The ore is transported by railway from the mine to the Nouadhibou harbor facilities. SNIM owns and operates its own railway. Railway operating features : Standard gauge(1.435 m) Single track railway 700 km long. It also features nine passing points, and six maintenance bases spread along the railway, each base servicing an approximate one hundred kilometer block. Both the weather conditions and the train load (an average of 22.000 tonnes per train, with an axle load of 25 tonnes) pose specific maintenance problems such as the tracks being buried in sand, premature rail wear, or difficulty in maintaining good track geometry. The ore trains are pulled by three or four 3.300 HP General Motors tank engines located in front of the train and dragging 84 tonne payload ore wagons (up to 210 wagons per train), along with an average of ten miscellaneous wagons (whether flat cars or tank wagons). The total train length can reach up to 2.5 kilometers. Usually three loaded ore trains circulate simultaneously with three empty ones.