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Hopes are high that construction work can start later this year on a massive £157 million textile plant on the outskirts of Belfast.The European Commission has finally given the go-ahead for more than £60 million of UK government aid to be poured into the factory, which will be built on a 120 ha greenfield site at Mallusk by the Taiwanese textile company Hualon.It will be the biggest industrial scheme in Northern Ireland since the ill-fated De Lorean venture and is expected to create around 500 construction jobs.As well as construction work, sizeable mechanical and electrical packages will be available, associated with facilities for textile spinning, dyeing and finishing.The project is expected to be constructed in four phases to be spread over seven years, with the plant eventually producing 23,500 tonnes of fabric a year.Negotiations are now taking place between Hualon and the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board - one of the aims of the talks will be to fix a start date for the scheme. CONSTRUCTION NEWS