Rotem Amfert Negev Ltd.

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Last Updated: November 11, 2011
Other Name: Mishor Rotem; Negev Phosphates Chemicals Company
Location: Approximately 15km east of Dimona, Israel
Subordinate To: Israel Chemicals Ltd.
Size: Two sulfuric acid plants, three mining sites
Facility Status: Operational

According to the Nuclear Engineering International Industry Handbook, the Negev Phosphates Chemicals Company extracts uranium from phosphate ores at a plant adjacent to the Negev Nuclear Research Center. [1] In 1991, the company merged with Rotem Fertilizers Ltd. and Amfert B.V. to become Rotem Amfert Negev Ltd. The company mines phosphates at three sites in the Negev Desert: Arad, Zin, and Oron. [2] The three mines' combined annual yield is approximately 5.5 million tons of phosphate ore. [3]

The Negev Desert holds between 30,000 and 60,000 tons of uranium contained within low-level phosphate ores. [4] In 1949 Science Corps C, a special unit of the Israel Defense Force's Science Corps began a two-year geological survey of the Negev desert in search of uranium. Science Corps C perfected a process for extracting uranium from phosphate deposits by 1953. [5] Despite this, domestic production amounts to only 10 tons per year, making the import of natural uranium necessary to sustaining the nuclear program.

Sources:
[1] "Israel's Nuclear Production Capability," Jane's CBRN Assessments, 1 December 2009, www.janes.com.
[2] Tom Zoellner, Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), p. 106; "The phosphates deposits of Israel: Overview," Geological Survey of Israel, Accessed 14 December 2010, www.gsi.gov.il.
[3] Raymond Cantrell, "Phosphate Rock," United States Geological Survey, Phosphate Rock Statistics and Information," Accessed 14 December 2010, http://minerals.usgs.gov.
[4] Franz J. Dahlkamp, Uranium Deposits of the World: Asia (Berlin: Springer, 2009), p. 451; "Data 1. Israel Nuclear Fuel Cycle," in Arms Control Reporter: A Chronicle of Treaties, Negotiations, Proposals, Weapons and Policy, ed. Randall C. Forsberg (Cambridge, MA: Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, 2006), p. 296.
[5] Ephraim Kahaha, Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2006), p. 216.

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