BEIRUT — The Public Works Ministry is launching an auction to sell scrap metal debris resulting from the deadly Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion, as part of "reconstruction" efforts, caretaker minister Ali Hamieh announced Tuesday.
The blast, caused by the detonation of large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored improperly in a port warehouse, killed at least 235 people, injured 6,500 others, and devastated entire neighborhoods of the capital. The Lebanese investigation into the disaster, led by Judge Tarek Bitar, has been at a standstill since February amid political interference from several sides.
Hamieh said at a press conference Tuesday at the port that "in 2021, the port was about to stop" due to poor revenue. Meanwhile, today, "the monthly revenue exceeds 10 million dollars," he said. "This is a result of the work and efforts made by the port administration and workers."
According to Hamieh, the public auction is part of efforts to reconstruct the devastated port.
"The Beirut port will not remain hostage to local and international political tensions," he said, with Tuesday's announcement of the auction "the biggest proof of that."
"The bidding will liberate tens of thousands of meters [on the port premesis] to prepare them for future investments by the private sector, which will lead to an increase in the revenues of the Lebanese state treasury," Hamieh noted.
Port director Omar Itani added during Tuesday's event that "the tender has become ready on the platforms of the Public Procurement Authority and the Beirut Port Administration."
According to Itani, "all the tenders carried out by the port administration are sent to the Public Procurement Authority."