The joint venture partners behind the $200m rehabilitation of the Karbala cement plant in Iraq are reviewing bids from four contractors for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to revamp the facility.

The tenders are good and the price for all three contracts is in range of expectations that we have Source close to the scheme

The partners behind the 2 million tonnes a year plant, UK investment firm MerchantBridge and France’s Lafarge are also in final negotiations for contracts covering security at the plant and a camp to house the 600 workers who will be carrying out the rehabilitation, says a source from MerchantBridge.

“We have held very good talks for the camp and the security contracts and are now in final bid negotiations,” the source says. “The only issue is time as we will need the facility made secure and the camp constructed by September.

“As for the EPC we have four very good tenders and are currently reviewing these at the moment and hope to make an announcement before the beginning of Ramadan [around August 11].”

The source declined to name the companies involved becaused of the late stage of negotiations, but says bidders are all major contractors.

“The tenders are good and the price for all three contracts is in range of expectations that we have. It really is going according to plan, but it is a lot of work,” he says. “If we can finalise a deal [for the EPC contract] by August we will then plan to start work in September.”

The EPC contract is for a total duration of 30 months. If work begins as planned in September the completion date of the facility will be March 2013.  

The plant is located around 90 kilometres to the east of the city of Karbala and around 230 kilometres from the Saudi Arabian border.