OPEC producer Iraq has opened talks with South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering and Construction Company to re-start the stalled Bismaya City, the country’s largest housing project, the local media reported on Monday.  

Hanwha decided in 2020 to halt work on Bismaya after the government failed to pay its dues for two years, according to local reports. 

Hanwha has already built nearly 30,000 of the project’s 100,000 houses before it decided to stop work, saying it did not receive payments for 2019 and 2020. 

Newspapers on Monday said the National Investment Commission  (NIC) met a Hanwha delegation in Baghdad on Sunday for talks on reviving the project. 

“The meeting focused on removing all obstacles blocking the project…Iraq is determined to finish this project and ensure citizens get their houses,” NIC Chairman Salar Amin said in a statement carried by Aliqtisad News and other publications. 

Iraq awarded the $7.7-billion contract to Hanwha in May 2012 and work began in 2013 but it was obstructed by internal hostilities. 

Located nearly 10 km southeast of the capital Baghdad, the project has an area of 18 sq km and was supposed to be completed within seven years. 

The city will accommodate nearly 600,000 people and it also comprises power and sewage networks, communications systems, roads, car parks, schools and universities, health centres and other facilities. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)