Iraq has signed a deal with an Italian company to repair and maintain the country's largest dam near the northern, Islamic State-held city of Mosul. The Mosul dam is in danger of a possibly catastrophic collapse.

Government spokesman, Saad al-Hadithi, says the contract worth € 275-million, or about $296 million, was signed with Italy's Trevi group on Wednesday.

He wouldn't give a specific timeframe for when the work would start, but says it needs to be "as quickly as possible."

The dam outside the Islamic State-held city of Mosul grabbed headlines recently amid fears it could collapse due to neglect and lack of needed maintenance because of the ongoing fighting.

It was built in the early 1980s on highly unstable ground with the underlying bedrock easily dissolvable in water.