The World islands in Dubai complete

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Nakheel, one of the world's largest property developers, on Thursday laid the final stone on the breakwater for The World islands in Dubai, completing the project five years after it was announced, ArabianBusiness.com can reveal in a world exclusive.

The last rock was one of 34 million tonnes of rock that were used to construct the 27-kilometre breakwater which surrounds the 300 man-made islands that make up The World, Nakheel said to ArabianBusiness.com on Thursday.

The World team was on hand as the last rock was placed at 8.00am Dubai time on January 10 by Hamza Mustafa, director of The World, marking the completion of the first phase of one of the world's most exclusive real estate development projects.

The World islands, built in the shape of the world map off the coast of Dubai, were first announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on May 6, 2003.

The first sand for the project was poured in September 2003, with 320 million cubic metres of sand now dredged from the sea as part of the land reclamation for the project.

The next phase of the project involves handing over islands to developers for construction and the building of infrastructure.

Invitations to purchase on The World are by invitation only, with 60% of the islands already sold by January 2008. The cost of the islands vary from $15-$50 million, though one island currently costs $250 million to buy.

COMING SOON: ArabianBusiness.com will be launching a world-exclusive Special Report about The World.

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