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Construction under way on hall of Egypt museum

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March 17, 2014 11:42 AM EST | AP

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's antiquities minister says construction is under way on the main hall of a massive new museum by the Pyramids, the final phase of a complex that's intended to house 100,000 ancient artifacts including King Tutankhamun's mummy.

Minister Mohammed Ibrahim and the country's international cooperation minister toured the 120-acre site Monday. Authorities are seeking to revive Egypt's battered tourism industry after three years of turmoil.

The Grand Museum of Egypt was supposed to open in 2012. But Hideki Matsunaga, the chief representative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency that is partially bankrolling the project, said the opening was set for the fall of 2015 but may face some delays beyond that.

Matsunaga said the agency is providing approximately $350 million in soft loans to finance the $800 million project.