Israel's accountant general, Michal Abadi-Boiangiu, asked the government to auction off the rights to mine the Dead Sea, instead of extending Israel Chemicals Ltd.'s mining license covering the area, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 17, citing Abadi-Boiangiu's letter to the government.
The license expires in 2030.
"Holding a tender process is the right way to maximize the public's part of the Dead Sea natural resources," Abadi-Boiangiu wrote.
Mining for minerals such as potash and bromine from the company's Dead Sea operations historically accounted for more than 50% of its overall income.
The company wants to have certainty before making further investments in the Dead Sea as it would take some time to be compensated should it lose the license.
Israel Chemicals swung to a net loss of US$340 million in the third quarter of 2016, from a profit of US$121 million a year earlier.
According to Bloomberg, shares in Israel Chemicals dropped by up to 3.4% in intraday trading Jan. 17.