Saudi Arabia, Iraq collaborate to enhance construction research, elevate cement industry
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched a collaborative construction research initiative with Iraq to improve the country’s cement and building material industry.
The two signed an agreement with the Saudi cement producer, Northern Region Cement Co., to advance the sector, responding to an increase in resource demand within the country, according to Iraq’s Minister of Industry and Minerals, Khalid Battal Al-Najm.
Speaking to his country’s news agency, Al-Najm said that the Saudi cement company would deploy new technology, which was also used in NEOM city projects.
“This agreement with the Saudi company is part of Iraq’s plans to develop its cement and building material industry,” the minister said, adding that the agreement also provides for the establishment of a research center for the development of building materials in the country.
In December 2023, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani congratulated Diyar Al-Iraq Co. and the Saudi cement company on signing the partnership contract.
According to the INA, the agreement marks the first Iraqi and Saudi private sector collaboration in the field of cement, adding that it was directly sponsored by the Iraq Fund for Development.
The Prime Minister’s Media Office said in a statement that the announcement was made during the reception of Abdulaziz Al-Shammari, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Iraq.
The meeting included Mohammed Al-Najjar, CEO of the Iraq Fund for Development, and representatives from Iraqi and Saudi companies.
Al-Sudani emphasized that this partnership is a significant step toward fostering broader collaborations between Iraqi and Saudi businesspeople and companies, adding that this initiative encourages the private sector in both countries to create more job opportunities, promote sustainable development, and strengthen economic ties.
In December 2023, Northern Region Cement Co. also announced it had signed a partnership agreement worth $43.95 million with Iraq’s Al-Diyar Al-Iraqia for Investments Co., according to a statement on Tadawul at that time.
As per the terms of the agreement, it was disclosed that the Iraqi company is set to obtain a 49 percent ownership interest in the Saudi company’s investments in Iraq.
The transaction, the statement added, will enable the Saudi-listed company to enter a strategic partnership that entails the expansion of its investment in promising markets.
In November 2023, the Saudi company announced on Tadawul that it had signed a 16-month, $139 million contract to construct a line with a production capacity of 1,320,000 tonnes of cement per year in Iraq, adding that the company’s resources would fund the project.