Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan is currently promoting a plan to regulate royalty payments by Israel's various industries over their use of natural resources, Calcalist learned.
"The State of Israel issues permits for industrial use of various natural resources, essentially allowing private companies to use the public's resources. It is wrong for the State to fail to ensure that the royalties paid for these resources reflect their maximum value," the initiative's brief said.
The brief, titled "Strategies for the Effective Management of Natural Resources," was formulated by Erdan and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
Israel does not currently have a government directorate to manage the setting and collecting of royalties paid for natural resources use. For example: Natural gas, potassium and phosphates are under the Energy and Water Ministry's jurisdiction, while raw building materials like sand and gravel fall under the jurisdiction of the Israel Land Administration.
"If we fail to devise a strategy for the proper use of natural resources, not only would the State lose unpaid royalties, the industry might find itself short of resources vital to its operations in a matter of years," Erdan warned.
The brief said that the two ministries will submit a draft plan for the effective management of natural resource for government review within one year, as well as with a plan to ensure the regular supply of critical minerals to the various industries.
The recommendation will be formulated by a special, interministerial steering committee, comprised of officials from the Interior, Energy and Water, Finance and Environmental Protection ministries, who will be assisted by experts serving with the Earth and Marine Sciences Research and Development Department and independent specialists.
The team will map out the natural resources available in Israel as well as their current levels and future reserves and will base their recommendations for a reform on a thorough review their existing management mechanism.