Copper Mine

Timna - Israel

2005-2015

Timna, located in the southernmost part of Israel, is among the oldest copper mines in the world. Although  referred to as King Solomon's Copper Mines, Timna was actually an important copper supplier to the Egyptian Empire. Indeed copper, as a very important ingredient of the ancient weapon industry, played a major role in shaping the Middle East in ancient times. Then for thousands of years there was no mining at the Timna. Following establishment of the State of Israel, the modern copper mine served in the 1950s as a major employment source in the Israeli Negev. However, copper production declined in the 80s remaining dormant until 2005 when the Mexican Company AHMSA renewed copper production in Timna and initiated planning for a new plant.

According to these plans the new plant will cover a very large area of 1,500 hectares.

There are two primary objectives for this project:

1. Establish a modern copper production plant which is based on underground mining, heap and tank leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning.

2. Rehabilitate the large open pits (remnants of the old 1980 plant) that have a very negative impact on the landscape of the Israeli desert.

The plans have now been approved by the Israeli planning authorities and construction will start in the near future.

The project incorporated the following architectural principles:

1. Minimization of earth works

2. Use of local materials

3. Use of bioclimatic planning methods for shading and ventilation

4. Enhancement of the oasis effect within the plant