Tinghir Mining Township was conceived in 1984 by the Société Méttallurgique d'Imiter (SMI) after analysis and exploration showed that reserves of silver in the region could be exploited at least until the year 2000. The investment by SMI in modern extraction equipment and a treatment plant was paralleled with substantial investment in the construction of staff housing and associated social infrastructure. Tinghir, an existing rural population concentration, is some 32km from the mine itself. Chosen after consultation with mining employees, it had the advantage of offering existing services and social infrastructure and avoided isolating the mining community in a "satellite" town. Local administrators offered the land, some 200'000 m2, at a token price, seeing the incoming mining population as an important source of revenue.
The programme comprises: 220 miners' houses, 20 bachelor's flats, 41 middle management houses, and 13 executive villas. Also included as part of the complex is: an executive club, a mosque, a cultural centre, a hammam, sports facilities, and 2 swimming pools. The architecture is simple cubic, solid forms, with small, recessed window apertures, offer a play of light and shade derived from the aesthetics of indigenous earth architecture. Sober, rustic, local materials combine with courtyard planning in a simple response to climatic constraints and the whole blends with the landscape. Reinforced concrete post and lintel frames on localised foundations support light-weight, cavity wall, concrete block-work mull, with an earth-coloured cement render finish. Situated some distance from the mine, the complex has acted as a catalyst to the development of the existing township at Tinghir. The complex provides the miners and executive personnel with living and hygienic conditions quite new to this deprived social class in Morocco.