Codelco, the world's largest copper producer announced that it will begin construction on a long-delayed US$1 billion desalination plant this year to supply its largest operations in northern Chile.
Construction was delayed in December 2019 after the company canceled the contract it had awarded to a consortium due to technical adjustments to be made to the project.
The consortium, made up of the companies Marubeni Corporation and Transelec, will be in charge of developing the works for the plant and its impulsion systems, which will come into operation in three more years, the company said in a statement.
Codelco has pushed its desalination plans' forward to reduce the consumption of fresh water in the midst of a punishing drought that has lasted more than a decade, as well as to aid the ambitious environmental objectives imposed by the government.
The company plans to reduce fresh water consumption by 60% by reusing water from tailings deposits, getting sea water from the desalination plant and improving the efficiency of its operating processes.
The desalination plant will have an initial capacity of 840 liters per second and the potential to expand to 1,956 l/s and will be located near the northern town of Tocopilla.