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ICL Gains Most in Almost Two Months as Government Talks Near End

Israel Chemicals Ltd., which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer and potash, gained the most in almost two months after the finance ministry said talks with the company will conclude soon.

The shares rose 4 percent to 35.60 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv, the biggest gain since Oct. 16. The talks were centered around royalties and salt harvesting from the Dead Sea, the ministry said in a statement.

“Uncertainty declines as we get closer to an agreement,” Guil Bashan, an analyst at IBI Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by telephone. “An agreement is better than no agreement, which could lead to one-sided decisions and laws by the government.”

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, is popular for the restorative powers of its mud baths and mineral waters. Hotels on its shores are in danger of flooding due to growing salt deposits that are a byproduct of potash harvesting. The process leaves behind salt that builds up on the seabed, pushing the water higher.

Israel Chemicals may be forced to pay as much as 5 billion shekels ($1.31 billion) to help clean up the salt buildup at the tourist site as part of a drive by the government to save hotels from flooding.

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