Geological explorations conducted in deserted mountainous areas north of the southern city of Eilat have shown high concentrations of gold – 4 grams per ton of earth – scientists said Sunday.
The find could attract investors to open a gold mine there.
The explorations were conducted by KiTov Resources, a company owned by Jewish Australian businessman Abraham Rod Salfinger.
Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth from Australia, Salfinger said drilling in the area could start as early as December.
But the project could face many hurdles before coming to life. The digs ought to be conducted on a cluster of hills known as Har Yadidiya, which is a nature reserve. The reserve is off-limits to the large vehicles and machinery required for the project and KiTov will have to have recourse to helicopters, which will raise costs.
The current explorations have cost KiTov hundreds of thousands of dollars and a digging venture could see costs running into millions of dollars.
KiTov is a privately owned company but Salfinger intends to float in Canada for a market value of $10 million.
KiTov currently has an exploration license for an area of 70 sq. km. and officials at the Infrastructure Ministry say the company will have to present a detailed financial plan and apply for a digging license.
In the 1980s a gold mine set up north of Eilat by a government-owned company survived a few months and was eventually shut down. Its short lifespan prevented researchers from determining whether a gold mine in the area was financially viable.