Grande Côte Opérations, the specialist in mineral sands

With its mobile mine in Senegal, Grande Côte Operations (GCO) produces mainly ilmenite and zircon, as well as rutile and leucoxene. The mineralized sands are mainly destined for the construction and decoration markets.

Grande Côte Opérations (GCO)’s mineral sands mine is located north of Dakar, near Diogo, and runs along the Atlantic coast of Senegal for 106 kilometers. Its industrial facilities include:

  • A dredge named “Yeene” (“hope” in Wolof) on an artifical pond of 600 meters by 300 meters,
  • A wet concentration plant where mineral sands, ordinary sand and water are separated,
  • A heavy minerals separation plant, which produces ilmenite, rutile, leucoxene and zircon,
  • A power plant,
  • A railroad operated by GCO,
  • Port and storage infrastructures.
The dredge and the wet concentration plant at a glance.

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GCO producs two grades of ilmenite: ilmenite 54 (with 54% of titanium dioxide) and ilmenite 58 (58% of titanium dioxide). Since 2018, GCO also produces ilmenite 56, a new product from the recycling of mine tailings. GCO also produces two grades of zircon: premium and standard. These products are transported to the port of Dakar via a railroad operated in part by GCO.

A project born in… Norway

In the 2000s, Eramet acquired the TTI plant in Tyssedal, Norway, which produces TiO2 from ilmenite. To supply this new plant, Eramet entered into a joint venture in 2011 with Mineral Deposits Limited (MDL), a young Australian mining company that was developing a mining project in Senegal: Grande Côte Operations. This agreement gave birth to TiZir ("Ti" for "Titanium" and "Zir" for "Zircon"), which therefore includes GCO upstream and TTI downstream. At GCO, operations started in 2014, and in 2018, Eramet bought 100% of the joint venture's shares.

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A daunting series of challenges at GCO

Community relations: the heart of GCO's strategy

Because of the mobile nature of the dredge, the main impact of the activity on neighboring communities is the displacement of homes and agricultural and pastoral areas. GCO is therefore committed to resettling impacted populations in a co-construction approach, and is conducting information and consultation actions, whether through regulatory obligations or voluntary initiatives.
At the same time, GCO supports the economic and social development of Senegal, notably through the creation of several local Economic Interest Groups (EIGs), and the rehabilitation of schools.

 1 540 jobs including 710 employees and 830 subcontractors

804kt of mineral sands produced in 2021

€123M of contribution to the local economy

€345k dedicated to CSR