OPEC member Iraq is considering offering a project to rebuild a war-damaged refined sulphur plant to investors within plans to slash its imports of that substance, a local news website reported on Friday. 

The plant, located in the Northern Nineveh Governorate, was the main sulphur producer in the Arab country but it was destroyed during the war five years ago, Aliqtisad News said, quoting a statement by Iraq’s Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry. 

The plant utilises a massive sulphur reservoir in the Governorate, with estimated deposits of more than 400 million tones, the world’s largest single sulphur reserve. 

The statement said the project to reconstruct the facility by private investors was floated in 2020 but it was halted by a cabinet decision on the grounds it is a “strategic project.” 

“There is now two directions which the Ministry will follow to revive the factory…either it is offered again to investors or it is reconstructed by the Ministry,” the statement said, adding that initial costs are estimated at  nearly 179 billion Iraqi dinars ($123 million), covering installation of equipment and infrastructure rebuilding. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)