Mohamed Metwali, director of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities in Alexandria and the North Coast, has dismissed media reports that construction in the vicinity of Alexandria's Al-Mandara Mill would encroach on the historical site.
Metwali told Al-Ahram Weekly that the construction work is not on the historical site itself, but rather on nearby private land.
Metwali said that the landowner obtained approval for construction from Alexandria governorate and the Ministry of Antiquities' Permanent Committee of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities, which approved construction on the condition that certain measures be put in place to guarantee the integrity of the historical site.
Among the requirements is that the building not exceed nine levels so as not to spoil the panoramic view of the mill area.
The conditions also state that the new edifice must be built in a simple Islamic style.
The committee also prohibited the drainage of sewage in the vicinity of the mill.
"If the landowner does not follow the instructions of the committee, the Ministry of Antiquities will demolish the whole building," Metwali said.
The Al-Mandara Mill was built in 1807 by Khedive Mohamed Ali Pasha to facilitate the grinding process of grain. At the time, Egyptians used animal-powered grinders, which were costly and difficult to use.