The Commissioner of Mining at the Energy and Water Ministry granted the first
permit for radioactive uranium exploration in Israel to Gulliver Energy Company,
a firm chaired by former Mossad director Meir Dagan.
The one-year permit
will allow for exploration in an area of 489.2 hectares (1,209 acres) in the
Negev desert between Arad and Sdom, next to Hatrurim Junction, the
Herzliya-based company said on Tuesday.
As this is the first time that
such an exploration will ever occur in Israel, the company reported that it
plans to consult experts from abroad and to import equipment and instruments for
During the Maya 357 oil explorations that were being
conducted in the Hatrurim area, researchers found signs of a high presence of
radioactive metals in the region, the company said. Gulliver Energy happens to
be a controlling shareholder of Zerach Oil, the firm that was performing the oil
drilling, and has signed an agreement with Zerach granting it the right to
search, mine for and produce radioactive metals from the area, including
In return for that right, Gulliver will be paying a royalty rate
to Zerach of 12.5 percent, the company said.
Gulliver’s permit will allow
the company to perform chemical analyses of radioactive samples from the Maya
357 area and if necessary, to expand existing drilling. By the end of its
permit, the company said it will submit a report summarizing its results and
including recommendations for future activity.