Orascom Construction Industries announced that the Kurdistan Regional Government has awarded an OCI consortium a 12-year lease contract for the Tasluja cement plant located near Suleimaniyah City in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The Office of the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government chose the OCI consortium based on our "financial and technical capabilities and experience in implementing similar projects and due to the strategic importance of the plant for producing cement which is of vital importance for the reconstruction process of Kurdistan." Under the terms of the lease contract, the OCI consortium will be responsible for the rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of the Tasluja cement plant and will receive a right of first refusal on any potential privatisation of the plant.
The Tasluja cement plant has two dry process production lines supplied by ThyssenKrupp Polysius which have a designed production capacity of 2.3Mt annually. An OCI/ Polysius team has already been mobilised on site to begin the rehabilitation process. The rehabilitation of Line I, which currently produces less than 300,000tpa of cement, is schedule to be completed by mid 2005. The rehabilitation of Line II, which is currently idle, is expected to be completed by mid 2006. The Tasluja cement plant will cater to a Kurdish population that is estimated to be 6 million people. The selling price of cement is currently averaging US$ 80-90 per ton in the region.
OCI Chief Executive Officer, Nassef Sawiris commented "OCI continues to invest in cement production capacity in key emerging markets. The Tasluja project represents our first step into the Iraqi cement market and gives us a base from which to grow our operations. In addition to the rehabilitation of the Tasluja cement plant, OCI and our local partner the Farouk Rasool Group also plan to begin construction of a greenfield cement plant in the Bazian mountain area of Kurdistan. The OCI Cement Group currently has an annual production capacity approaching 13Mt. With the addition of the 51 per cent stake in the lease for the Tasluja plant and our new investment in Pakistan, the OCI Cement Group will have a production capacity of 17.5Mt by 2006."
Mr. Farouk Rasool commented "The Tasluja rehabilitation project is of considerable importance to the Kurdish region and its reconstruction process. Current production levels at the plant do not satisfy the demand created by the ongoing wave of economic industrial development in the region. This agreement aims to leverage the technical and managerial experience of an international contractor / producer in the rehabilitation of the plant, the efficient management of the production and distribution process and the training of Kurdish personnel."