The establishment of a cement factory in the Jordanian city of Al Qatranah has moved a step nearer with the firm behind the project, Saudi Arabia’s Arabian Cement Company, awarding the $110m construction contract to Germany’s KHD Humboldt.
The new plant, which is expected to come on stream some time in 2009, will generate around two million tonnes of cement per annum, or more than 5,000 tonnes per day. The cement will primarily supply Jordan’s domestic market but it is likely some will be sold to support the needs of other neighbouring countries.
The decision to locate the cement plant in Al Qatranah, around 90km south of Amman in the Karak Governorate, enables Arabian Cement to tap into the sizeable local deposits of limestone.
Arabian Cement is also looking beyond its new venture in Jordan and is eyeing up further factories in the Middle East and Africa. It is also ploughing $900m into gearing up production back in Saudi Arabia. Speaking in May, the company’s President and CEO Mohammed Taher Uthman described the Middle East’s real estate development sector as ’witnessing unprecedented growth’ and, if his home market, as well as those in the likes of the UAE and Qatar, are anything to go by, he isn’t far wrong, although a few worrying signs in the housing sectors are beginning to manifest themselves in Jordan.
But such a downturn doesn’t mean Jordan’s property sector is slipping into a full-blown decline - which is good news for developers and cement producers alike. Jordan does in fact have an urgent need for new housing and around 100,000 units will be required over the next five years to accommodate low income groups who, until recently, had been pretty much ignored by