This article revisits, after a period of thirty years, the materials of two field researches that relate to an iron-mining company in the north of Mauritania. The MIFERMA, which had inherited the colonial past, meanwhile has become the SNIM, a nationalised company, employing exclusively Mauritanian workers. The ‘mauritanisation’ of the employees is the object of the analysis. This process has social and political features, underlying the demands of the local workers, but also symbolic and identity aspects that are of anthropological interest with regard to globalisation. The culture of the sacs à dos evident in the company underlines solidarities that are close to those of tribal society, illustrating a local adaptation of modernity in the world system. The anthropologist’s memory is here crossing the workers’ memory.