Rabat - At 98km long, the conveyor belt transporting phosphate from Bou Craa’s mines to the port city of Laayoune can be seen from space.
Rabat – At 98km long, the conveyor belt transporting phosphate from Bou Craa’s mines to the port city of Laayoune can be seen from space.
The conveyor belt can move 2,000 tons of phosphate per hour, meaning that Bou Craa’s annual production is about 3 million tons.
When Spanish officials discovered phosphate in this region in 1947, they stumbled upon what geologists have since calculated to be about 1.7 billion tons of the ore.
Mining began in the region in 1972 and now contributes 10 percent of Morocco’s phosphate production, however this is not without issue.
Polisario have in the past interfered with and vandalised the belt even causing it to temporarily close, but this eventually stopped after the Moroccan Wall was built around the town in the 1980s.
The conveyor belt is the longest of its kind in the world, and its open, desert location means that wind sometimes blows phosphate off the belt causinga white streak, which is visible from above.