Day 23: Zouérat to Azougui
It's not surprising therefore that we have to negotiate two or three increasingly serious roadblocks as we drive 9 miles south and east from Zouérat to the Guelb mine.
With the storm still howling across the desert, sand-ploughs are out keeping the road clear, and our first sight of the boxy superstructure of the mine buildings is through a spectral cloud of rasping stinging dust.
At Guelb, the desert has been transformed into a dark satanic world of noise and movement. Caterpillar trucks grind up and down, bringing freshly mined material to the crushers. From there, conveyor belts carry the pulverised rock to a hopper, which fills railway wagons at the rate of a 100 tonnes a minute. Today, the wind is catching the iron ore dust between hopper and wagon and sweeping most of it out across the desert in billowing black clouds. Through this mad screaming tempest of wind and dust, yellow and blue diesel locomotives, bells sounding dolefully, keep the wagons moving slowly forward.
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- Series: Sahara
- Day: 23
- Country/sea: Mauritania
- Place: Zouérat
- Book page no: 79
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