The joint venture partners behind the $200m rehabilitation of the Karbala cement plant in Iraq have agreed the security contract for the facility. Construction work will start at the beginning of August.

UK investment firm MerchantBridge and France’s Lafarge have reached an agreement with an as yet unnamed company to build a camp that will house 600 workers, as well as provide security for the whole site.

“Even though the contract has yet to be signed, the first day of the contract delivery is next week,” a source told MEED on 26 July. “The rehabilitation has to start just after Ramadan and workers will be arriving then. This is why they have to start next week.”

“Several cement plant rehabilitations have been awarded but nothing has happened with many. It is very important that this consortium can show that the project can be done and completed on time and on budget,” the source adds.

The tenders for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the plant rehabilitation are still in negotiation with the awards set to be made before Ramadan.

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