By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 October 2017:
Foreign experts are helping to reopen Benghazi’s Hawari cement factories. The British consultants met with the city’s Mayor Abdelrahman Al-Abaar last week in talks on restarting the stalled factories.
Work is to start on demining work on the premises and its surroundings together with an assessment of the huge damage caused by the extensive fighting that took place in and around the factory.
Abaar said that his Municipality will give its full support in restarting the factories which he considered as an important part of reigniting economic activity in Benghazi and Libya as a whole.
Plans to rebuild and reopen the two cement factories in Benghazi’s Hawari district had been announced by owners, the Libya Cement Company (LCC) in May this year.
The plants had closed in mid-2014 when fighting in the area between Hafter’s Libyan National Army and militants started. For almost two years, the militants effectively controlled the area and it was not until April last year that the cement works were finally recaptured.
At a recent general meeting of LCC, held in Amman, Jordan, the chairman of its parent Joint Libyan Cement Company (JLCC), Ahmed Ben Halim, said that full priority was being given to getting the Benghazi plants operational again.
However, he acknowledged that this would not be easy given that the two factories were damaged in fighting in March-April 2016.
An LCC statement had reported that investigations had shown the damage to be significant and that extensive re-building will be necessary. It will take at least a year before they can return to production, during which time the site will have to be made safe, new machinery and parts brought in, new skilled construction workers found and necessary utilities such as electricity and gas restored, the report had said.
LCC is 90-percent owned by the Joint Libyan Cement Company (JLCC), itself a joint venture between Asamar Libya and the Economic and Social Development Fund (ESDF). Asamer Libya was bought two years ago from the Austrian parent company, Asamer, by Libya Holdings Group, headed by Ben Halim.