Iraq's cabinet approves cement factory
Iraq's cabinet has approved a $692 million contract for the construction of a cement factory in southern Iraq, a government official said. The factory will be built in Diwaniya province, 150 km south of Baghdad, and will cover an area of about 185 acres. The contract was awarded to a joint venture group consisting of an Iraqi company and an Italian firm. "The cabinet has given approval to award an investment licence to erect a cement factory in Diwaniya province to a local firm, which is in a joint venture with an Italian firm for a total value of $692 million," the statement said. Iraq has some of the world's largest oil reserves and is opening itself up to foreign investors to help it rebuild after decades of war and economic isolation. The government has set a target of $30 billion for total investment this year, mostly in energy, housing and agriculture. The National Investment Commission has previously put together an investment plan of 750 projects valued at $600 billion to rebuild Iraq. Its five-year plan totals $186 billion, of which $86 billion is to come from foreign and local private investment.