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Israel Expert Brings Report to U.S. on Negev’s Natural Riches

April 25, 1952
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The first authentic and detailed information on the natural riches discovered by Israeli scientists in the Negev was given at a press conference here today by Isaac Chizik, until recently chairman of the Negev Development Commission and now administrator of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Port Authority.

Mr. Chizik, an Israel-born industrial engineer who is a graduate of the University of Chicago, arrived in the United States to take part in the nation-wide campaign of the United Jewish Appeal. He disclosed that in 1953 Israel may be in a position to export a minimum of 500,000 tons of phosphates, both in raw and manufactured form, and hopes to increase yearly exports to millions of tons. However, he emphasized that the U.J.A. is Israel’s best hope of overcoming the lack of funds with which to settle and civilize the wilderness of the Negev.

With reference to the discovery of copper, Mr. Chizik said that copper ore of medium metallic concentration has been found. He noted that the initial investigation of copper ore deposits approximated 150,000 tons but the possibility exists that these deposits are much more extensive.


Reporting on the Negev’s deposits of manganese, Mr. Chizik said that Israel’s possession of this vital mineral in quantity now opens up a fresh supply to the western world which in recent years has had to contend with the bottling up of 90 percent of the known supply in countries behind the Iron Curtain.

He said that two tunnels and surface mining disclosed important quantities of this material, which he described as having a concentration of 35 to 40 percent of manganese oxide. Experiments are being made to augment the concentration and economical exploitation will depend on the results, he said. He noted that the supposed quantity of manganese approaches 2,000,000 tons and that there is the possibility of further discoveries.

The existence of oil deposits in Israel, he stated, has not yet been fully determined, but he reported that three groups–one Israeli, one Swiss and one Canadian–are intensely interested and are negotiating for prospecting licenses which will enable them to start boring in areas of possible yield. He reported also that the Knesset now has before it a bill to regularize oil prospecting and boring.

Mr. Chizik said that, in addition to these finds, researches are now going forward with respect to iron, sulphur, mica and feldspar. An initial general survey of iron ore deposits has been concluded and exploration operations at greater depths have been started using standard mining methods, he reported. The iron ore turned up so far, he noted, is of medium quality but gives sign of existing in large quantity.

Mr. Chizik gave highest importance to the discovery of phosphates, reporting that it has been found in great quantity. He pointed out that phosphates are used chiefly as fertilizer and that “its discovery on our own soil will prove a tremendous boon to us, especially in view of our highly intensive kind of agriculture.”

He reported that the discovery of phosphates has already enabled Israel to halt the annual import of some 150,000 tons of this vital material at an estimated yearly savings of more than $1,500,000. At the same time, he said, a company has been formed for the manufacture of super-phosphates to meet all of Israel’s needs and to offer it as a principal item of export.

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