Israel is set to pay an estimated $1 billion in compensation to abandoned silver miners in the Galilee.
The government is expected to make the payment in the coming days.
The compensation is a significant sum, and the payout is expected not only to affect the area’s impoverished residents but also to ease the economic hardship that comes with the closure of the mines.
“We are now ready to deliver this financial compensation,” a senior government official told Israel Radio, adding that the government had reached a preliminary agreement with the company, Zgounders Silver Mines, and is finalizing the terms of the agreement.
The mine is a long-standing one in the area and it’s not clear what the extent of the settlement activities was in the past.
In 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy, and a year later, Zagors owners withdrew their claim to the mine.
Zagors has a long history of controversy.
The company, which operated in the territory from 1932 to 1992, was accused of dumping toxic wastes into the groundwater, poisoning local residents and causing environmental damage.
The company has since been bought by Israeli investors, but its operations have continued in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.