Railway Line Nouakchott - Kaédi, Mauritania, for the Export of Phosphate Ore

ClientMAN Ferrostaal / DB International GmbH (DE-Consult)
ServicesEnvironmental Impact Assessment

Mauritania has an important deposit of phosphate ore located in Bofal, in the South of the country. At the time of this project, constructing a railway line to transport respective ores presented a potentially suitable option in that region. The railway was intended to start at the port of Nouakchott heading south east via Tiguent, Mederdra and R’kiz, as far as the region of the phosphate deposits and further to Kaédi. Beyond the main purpose, phosphate transport, the project was also intended to provide freight transport services and to carry passengers along the entire line.

A feasibility study was issued to evaluate potential designs and to determine whether the railway line is the most suitable option for transporting the phosphate ores. This study required an environmental impact assessment. According to Annex 1 No. 10 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (’Décret Relatif à L’etude D’impact Environnemental’ 2004/2007) the construction of a railway line ('Construction de chemins de fer') comprises a project that is classified as Category A of three categories. This means the proposed project is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse or unprecedented. Among others the EIA process comprises of

  • Screening
  • Scoping
  • Environmental Studies
  • the submission of environmental information to the competent authority
  • consultations and
  • the announcement of decision.

The early stage of the EIA process – scoping phase - aims to identify content and extent of the environmental information to be submitted to the Competent Authority under the EIA procedure. The following list identifies key environmental issues. All of them are likely to have a significant impact during the construction and operation of the proposed railway line:

  • Construction phase: area demands (construction camps and roads, construction material, signalling, telecommunication), risk of accident, noise (blasting, truck transport), use of groundwater (subgrade, ballast), use of toxic material (insecticides, wooden sleepers), displacement of houses, dust (construction, transport), dune erosion, loss of species, loss of prehistoric/ancient finds (cultural heritage).
  • Operation phase: area demands/earthworks (railway, stations, stops), isolation, noise, vibration, emission (diesel operation), dust (transport), traffic injury.

Based on the findings of the Scoping report, terms of reference for the next phase (detailed design stage), which should comply with these conditions, have to be verbalized to move on with the project.


Gaede und Gilcher
Schillerstr. 42
79102 Freiburg
Telefon: 0761 79102-97
E-Mail: info(at)