Jewish Agency Reports Discovery of Mineral Wealth in Negev

Israel’s search for the mineral wealth of the Negev has already resulted in the discovery of sufficient phosphates, kaolinite and glass sand to cover Israel’s needs for 1952, the economic department of the Jewish Agency reported today.

Phosphates, vital to Israel’s agriculture, as well as kaolinite and sand glass for the country’s ceramics and glass industries, have hitherto been imported in large quantities. A mineral exploration company was set up by the Government of Israel last year. “The company’s first annual report cites Dr. Avraham Loehnberg, Israeli mineral expert, as predicting that within the next five or ten years, Israel’s production of non-ferrous minerals will equal that of most highly industrialized nations in the world.” the Jewish Agency declared.

The quest for mineral deposits in the Negev began over three years ago when teams of geologists, chemists and physicists from the Weizmann Institute, Hebrew University and Haifa Technical College collected samples of rock and soil for study. As a result of their findings, survey camps were set up in the most likely areas of the Negev, followed by the establishment of Israel Quarries, Ltd.

The company discovered the deposits of feldspar, kaolinite and glass sand at Mahtesh, south of the Dead Sea. Research and testing to determine the quality and quantity of the find was undertaken by the Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovoth. The phosphates will be processed by the new Fertilizers and Chemicals, Ltd. plant at Haifa, the Jewish Agency reported.

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