The first and only railway in Mauritania is the 704km line from the mining region north and east Zouérate to the Atlantic coast port of Nouadhibou. It opened in 1963. The principal traffic is iron ore, although passengers are carried on some trains.
In 1991, a short diversion of the central portion of the railway was opened, bypassing a steeply graded section with a tunnel. About 5km of the new line passes through the territory of Western Sahara.
In 2014, an agreement was signed with mining company Glencore for the carriage of iron ore by the SNIM railway to the coast from Glencore’s projected mines in the Askaf area. This would involve the construction of a short branch line to the mines.
Flag image from CIA World Factbook