Dead Sea Industries Signs Deal to Scrape Salt and Thus Save Dead Sea Hotels

The 1-billion-shekel deal, signed with Holland Shallow Seas Dredging, is intended to remove salt buildup from the company’s fifth potash production pool

The east coast of the Dead Sea in Jordan.
Manuel Cohen / AFP

Dead Sea Industries, a fully-owned subsidiary of Israel Chemicals, signed an agreement to carry out the first stage of dredging the salt from one of its evaporation pools along the Dead Sea. 

The 1-billion-shekel deal, signed with Holland Shallow Seas Dredging, is intended to remove salt buildup from the company’s fifth potash production pool, and thus maintain the water level so that it does not overflow and flood the foundations of neighboring hotels. 

As part of the project, the contractor will build a specialized 24-by-120-meter dredger for the pool. The dredger will be operated continuously by dozens of workers hired by the contractor, and is intended to collect some 5.5 million cubic meters from the bottom of the pool every year. 

The project is necessary because the potash production process at the site necessitates raising the water level in the pool by 20 centimeters a year. During the potash production process, the water evaporates in the sun, letting 20 million tons of salt sink to the bottom of the pool every year. 

ICL promised Israel’s government that starting in 2017, the pool would not rise above a certain level. Under that agreement, ICL will fund 80 percent of the project.