TEL AVIV, June 17 Israel's government has
established a committee to examine the policy for collecting
royalties from natural resources other than oil and natural gas,
the Finance Ministry said on Monday.
The committee will be headed by Eitan Sheshinski, who led a
similar panel that made recommendations regarding royalties from
oil and gas. Other members of the committee include Eugene
Kandel, head of the National Economic Council, Michal
Abadi-Boiangiu, the Finance Ministry's accountant-general, and
Michael Sarel, head of the ministry's economics and state
revenues administration department.
The committee "will act to ensure that the government's
share from taxes, royalties and other payments reflects what is
due to the public as a result of the use of national natural
resources," the ministry said.
The panel will need to examine mineral extraction from the
Dead Sea taking into consideration an agreement signed between
the government and Israel Chemicals (ICL) as well as
the public debate that followed news that Canada's Potash Corp
was interested in acquiring control of ICL, the
ICL struck a deal with Israel's government in late 2011 to
pay 10 percent in royalties on minerals extracted from the Dead
Sea. The firm, which has an exclusive permit to extract minerals
from the Dead Sea, had previously paid 5 percent royalties.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said in April he would set up a
public committee to re-examine the state's rights to natural
resources managed by private companies. He also said he opposed
the sale of ICL to Potash Corp.
Two weeks later Potash Corp, the world's No. 1 fertiliser
producer, said it was abandoning efforts to take over ICL
because of strong opposition in Israel.
ICL chief executive Stefan Borgas has said the company pays
over 1 billion shekels ($278 million) a year in taxes and
royalties, or 35 percent of its domestic profits, and expects
the government take to reach 45 percent.
ICL shares were down 3.7 percent to 38.59 shekels in
The committee will submit its recommendations by June 2014.