Chile

Aguas Antofagasta to expand desal capacity despite brine criticism – Chile

Chilean water utility Aguas Antofagasta plans to keep expanding its desalination capacity both in regional capital Antofagasta and the municipality of Tocopilla, despite criticism of the alleged environmental impact of brine discharges into the sea.

In December, the company received environmental approval for a US$115mn project to increase the capacity of its plant (in photo) in Antofagasta city to over 1,600l/s, and expects to have the expansion ready by late 2023 or early 2024, the firm’s operations manager Cristián Jiménez told BNamericas at the Desalination Latin America congress held by Vostock Capital.

He said the expansion will be Aguas Antofagasta’s largest project for the next three years.

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Chile desalination projects advance despite regulatory uncertainty – Chile

“We will see how this evolves over the next weeks or months, but there’s no doubt that we will have a new regulatory framework.

And that is making some short-term investors to await these results to see which road to take,” Carlos Foxley, chairman of Chilean desalination association Acades, told BNamericas. He said two regulatory pushes are happening in parallel.

One in the constitutional convention, which drafts a new constitution, is focused on overall water management, while the second push comes from the senate and concerns a desalination bill submitted by the previous administration.

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Solution & Environmental Challenge for Chile – Chile

The Pacific Ocean could quench the thirst caused by 10 years of drought in Chile, but the operation of desalination plants of various sizes has a long way to go to become sustainable and to serve society as a whole rather than just corporations.

Some twenty of these plants are already in operation providing desalinated water to small fishing communities, another three to the inhabitants of various municipalities and eight more to large mining companies, all but one of which are concentrated in Chile’s arid North.

The extensive development and availability of solar and wind energy has lowered the operating cost of desalinating and purifying seawater, which offers hope for a stable supply of water in this Southern Cone country with 4,270 kilometers of coastline.

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Total Eren kicks off Chile green hydrogen study – Chile

Total Eren has begun studies for the development of a large-scale green hydrogen project in Chile, with a target of 25GW of electrolyser capacity by 2030.

H2 Magallanes will be supplied by renewable electricity from up to 10GW of wind capacity to be located near the borough of San Gregorio, in the Magallanes region of southern Chile.

The project ties in with Chile’s ambition to feature among global leaders in the production of green hydrogen via electrolysis.

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Chile desalination bill stalls in senate – Chile

Senate discussion on a desalination bill has stalled until Chile’s executive submits an observations report to the water resources committee.

Desalination is seen as one solution to alleviate the severe drought affecting the country.

Discussion on the bill began in congress in 2018. 

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Chilean debate on desalination regulation takes shape – Chile

Chilean lawmakers are debating how to regulate the increasing number of desalination plants in the country, noting that there are no frameworks for their environmental assessment, use of maritime concessions and their position within the country’s overall water strategy.

A motion currently being reviewed by the senate’s water resources committee would declare desalinated water an asset for public use, prioritize it for human consumption, set requirements to request maritime concessions and establish a national strategy for the sector that would create incentives for technological innovation and development.

During the legislative discussion, senator Isabel Allende said that the bill could be improved, but that “we’re heading down the right path,” as it would create regulations “that don’t currently exist, which is the worst-case scenario.”

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Chile’s Minister of Mines and Energy prepares for new cycle of expansion – Chile

As copper prices hit their highest level in almost a decade, Chile’s mining industry is preparing for a new cycle of expansion.

“We hope that if the price cycle remains high, which is what most analysts expect, that this accelerates the development of new mine projects,” Chile’s Mines and Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet said in an interview with The Northern Miner.

The government has identified mining projects worth US$74 billion in development, of which almost a third are already in construction. They include Teck’s (TSX: TECK.A/TECK.B; NYSE: TCK) US$4.5 billion Quebrada Blanca project, an expansion of Antofagasta plc‘s (LSE: ANTO) Los Pelambres mine and Codelco’s massive program to overhaul its aging mine operations.

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Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres expansion to cost extra $400m – Chile

Chilean miner Antofagasta revealed on Wednesday that the expansion project at its Los Pelambres operation in the home country would cost $1.7 billion, up from the original $1.3 billion, due mainly to revised marine works and value of a desalination plant extension.

Construction of the project resumed in August, after a four-month halt triggered by the covid-19 pandemic.

A detailed review of the schedule and costs, including those associated with the realized and ongoing restrictions linked to the global pandemic followed. The assessment also considered changes to the marine works to enable an expansion of the desalination plant.

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IDE Technologies secures contract for desalination plant in Chile – Chile

IDE Technologies, a global leader in desalination and water treatment, was recently awarded by Aguas Pacífico SpA the EPC contract for the Aconcagua Desalination Plant in Chile.

The project includes the engineering, supply, construction, start-up and commissioning of a seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant with a nominal production capacity of 86,400 m3/day (1,000 liters per second), that will be in the bay of Quintero in the Valparaíso Region of Chile.

The plant will be the first drought-proof source of fresh water in the Aconcagua basin to serve municipal, agricultural, industrial and mining clients in the region.

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Desalination is not the only answer to Chile’s water problems – Chile

Chile produces nearly a quarter of the world’s copper supply, with the majority of production coming from the northern provinces (Exhibit 1). That same region is one of the driest places on the planet.

During 2019, Chile experienced its worst drought in decades, with the government having to supply fresh water to almost 400,000 residents.

Annually, the mining industry consumes enough water to provide for 75 percent of the needs of Chile’s population.

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