In the past year, as part of the effort of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor to locate new opportunities for the Israeli Cleantech industry, the international mining industry was chosen as a key target for innovative water technologies. Coal, copper and gold mines in South Africa, Brazil, Chile and Australia use large quantities of water and therefore making more efficient use of water would enable them to cut costs. Additionally, they create an environmental challenge – creating heavy waste and air pollution – an issue which also needs to be addressed.
This is where Israel’s expertise in wastewater treatment and water efficiency comes into the picture. The head of Israel NewTech, Oded Distel, is advancing the Israeli presence in mining-heavy countries, with the understanding that the mining industry presents an opportunity for a fruitful cooperation: these countries need Israeli technological solutions in the water arena, and Israeli water technology companies are looking for new markets, making for a win-win situation.
Israeli companies taking part in the Israel NewTech program, are working on the development and manufacturing of products in the fields of irrigation, desalination and wastewater treatment. Recently (at the end of October) a delegation of Israeli water companies visited Chile, where mining is a major natural resource and main source of export.
The delegation to Chile, which was initiated by the Israel NewTech program and the Israeli Export Institute, together with the Economic Attaché of the Israeli Foreign Trade Administration in Brazil, included seven Israeli companies: Amiad, Batman, Greenkote, Metzerplas, Netafim and P2W. In the capital Santiago they met with leading local mining companies.
During the delegation’s visit the Israeli companies toured a number of mines in order to learn first hand the challenges that this industry confronts in Chile. Additionally, a seminar was held at the Intercontinental Hotel , with over 100 people attending. “At the seminar we presented the innovations of the Israeli water industry,” explains Erik Rath, business development manager for the energy and environment industries at the Israeli Export Institute. “The seminar’s objectives were to share Israeli technology innovations, vis a vis the needs of the local industries, with an emphasis on mining.”
Following the seminar, one on one meetings were held between representatives of the Israeli technology companies and representatives of the local mining industry. These meeting enabled Israeli companies to learn about the specific needs of the local Chilean industry, in order for them to develop tailor-made solutions for specific customers.