Chile

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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BHP to pay $840 million to break from coal in Chile – Chile

BHP’s (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) Escondida and Spence copper mines in northern Chile are poised to pay a total of $840 million for an early end to a 2008 energy contract with a coal-fired thermoelectric plant.

The move follows a series of recent steps BHP has been taking to become an environmentally friendly miner, including carbon capture and storage and other innovations such as direct air capture.

Local power company AES Gener — a unit of AES Corp — said on Monday that the agreement signed with its Angamos plant will end in August 2021.

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Chile seawater desalination to grow 156% – Chile

Cochilco analyst Camila Montes said desalination use would grow most in the drier northern parts of the country, forecasting 65% usage in Antofagasta, 60% in Tarapaca, 42% in Atacama and 25% in Coquimbo.

Some 90% of the desalinated seawater will be used in the processing of copper sulphide ores for the production of copper concentrates.

The addition of seawater desalination to a large-scale project adds at least a billion dollars to project capex, up to over $3 billion for a massive plant such as the 2,500 litres per second (lps) plant BHP added at Escondida in 2018.

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Acciona inks PPA with state-run desalination plant in Chile – Chile

Acciona has signed a supply deal with Chilean water utility Empresa Concesionaria de Servicios Sanitarios SA (ECONSSA Chile) that will fulfil the energy needs of a water desalination plant set to come online in the Atacama desert next year.

The Spanish firm said in a release on Wednesday that it will supply energy to the plant from a mix of its Chilean renewables operations. It claims to have 291MW of operational facilities and 393MW under construction.

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BHP to take US$780M hit on renewable move – Chile

The company announced four new renewable power agreements for the Escondida and Spence operations.

It is part of BHP’s goal to shift to 100% renewable energy at the mines from the mid-2020s.

“These new renewable energy contracts will increase flexibility for our power portfolio and will ensure security of supply for our operations, while also reducing costs and displacing CO2 emissions,” BHP Minerals Americas president Daniel Malchuk said.

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Chile’s President Announces Water Crisis Team Amid ‘Intense’ Drought – Chile

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera on Thursday announced the creation of a working group of government agencies, academics and industry players to tackle the worst drought in 60 years which has spiked this year amid record lows of rainfall.

The government has declared water shortages in more than 50 communities across three regions of its normally lush central belt so far this year, and an associated agricultural emergency across more than 100.

It has pledged to spend $58 million in tapping more water sources and trucking water to people going without in rural areas.

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