Israel Chemicals’ Dead Sea Operations Could Be Nationalized in 2030

The government is also considering extending the license and inviting bids.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
The Dead Sea's receding shoreline exposes large swaths of what until a few decades ago was the sea floor.
The Dead Sea's receding shorelineCredit: Moti Milrod

The state is considering all options for when Israel Chemicals’ license to mine the Dead Sea’s minerals expires in 2030 including nationalizing Dead Sea operations, Finance Ministry experts said Tuesday.

A Finance Ministry team led by Chief Economist Yoel Naveh is examining the possibilities. “All options are on the table extending the license, a tender, nationalization,” the team’s coordinator, Qusaii Assi, told the Knesset Finance Committee.

Assi noted that the team was originally supposed to submit its recommendations last year, but the process was extended because of a public hearing process. The recommendations will be submitted by June, he added.

Potash belonging to Israel Chemicals.Credit: Bloomberg

The Knesset Finance Committee will oversee the government’s preparations for the end of Israel Chemicals’ license to operate at the Dead Sea, committee chief Moshe Gafni said at the hearing.

“As one of the country’s largest natural resources is up for debate, the Finance Committee won’t allow any foot-dragging and will demand a detailed work plan and a public discussion starting in the next few months,” he said.

The committee session was held at the request of MK Miki Rosenthal (Zionist Union). Rosenthal, referring to a panel that set policy for handling the country’s royalties from natural resources, criticized the government’s efforts on the Dead Sea matter.

“The Sheshinski committee ruled that the state must set up a committee to discuss alternatives when a license period is due to end, but this hasn’t happened. All that’s been appointed is a Finance Ministry team that has barely met,” he said, referring to Naveh’s team.

According to Rosenthal, the big questions need to be answered now whether to hold a tender, extend the license period or transfer the rights to the state. Another question is what to do with the Dead Sea, “a global asset that is drying up,” he said.

Rosenthal noted that the law currently gives Israel Chemicals the right of refusal, which would make a tender process meaningless. That clause must be done away with, he said.

Rosenthal criticized the government’s lack of organization on the matter, noting that the Energy Ministry had given Israel Chemicals a permit to operate a power plant at the Dead Sea until 2037. He called on the Finance Committee to supervise the government in this matter.

Gafni accepted Rosenthal’s proposal that the Finance Ministry give six-month updates on its work.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage