By Omar Obeidat – Feb 03,2016

AMMAN – Lafarge Jordan has a plan to turn its dusty site of 1,880 dunums for cement production in Fuheis into an “environment-friendly urban hub”, but it still awaits decision makers’ nod, the company’s CEO Amr Reda said.

In an interview with The Jordan Times, Reda said the envisioned project was considered after the merger of Lafarge and Holcim in July last year to create LafargeHolcim, which he described as a new leader in the global building materials industry.

On details of the envisioned plan, the Lafarge Jordan CEO said it would be an entire clean energy city that would include shopping malls, residential and commercial properties, medical facilities and restaurants, adding that the scheme would be “a great investment opportunity” for regional and international developers, the local community and the country.

On the value of the project, Reda said it would exceed JD2 billion when it is ready, indicating that the company sent an official letter to the Investment Commission in October 2015 informing them about the plan but still has not received any response.

The size of the land, fully owned by Lafarge, is 1,880 dunums, according to the CEO, who said that the Paris-headquartered leader in the cement and building solutions industry has the expertise and know-how to develop green schemes.

“If we obtain the government’s approval for this development project, economic returns for the country and the area would be double. It would create a large number of job opportunities,” he said, adding the firm is ready to embark on this project as soon as possible.

“This would be the group’s first of its kind project in the world, if approved,” he said, adding the company can bring in an international engineering firm to design the project and invite local, regional and global developers to invest.

He said that Lafarge Jordan is considering the development plan as it seeks economic salvation to the problems facing its factories in the town of Fuheis –– just few kilometres northwest of Amman –– which have been non-operational for several years due to pressure from the local community over their environmental impact, according to Reda.

“The company seeks a new strategy to end the status quo here [Fuheis],” he said.

He said that between 2005 and 2009 the company developed the factories to reduce the environmental impact by using latest technology to monitor emissions to be in line with international standards.

In 2011, Reda said Lafarge established a factory to be run on pitcoke in Fuheis but again the local community objected, leaving the two lines of production and 200 engineers and workers in complete halt for several years.

“We have to pay JD5 million a year in compensation for the local community due to environmental impact. What impact and the factory is not operational?” he asked.
– See more at: