Desalination plant brings much-needed water to Los Pelambres

Chilean miner Antofagasta Minerals unveiled a new desalination plant that will help mitigate the effects of a 15-year drought on the production of copper at its flagship mine, according to Reuters.

Photo: Antofagasta Minerals

Chilean President Gabriel Boric praised the $2 billion-plus project, saying the situation in the Coquimbo region, where the Los Pelambres mine is located, is concerning. 

“Especially with the climate change crisis, we must be not only a mining country, but also a country at the cutting edge of responsible, sustainable mining,” he said at the plant’s inauguration.

The news agency said Antofagasta plans to pump 400 liters of water per second for use at Los Pelambres, located about 55 kilometers inland near Los Vilos. In a second phase slated for completion in 2027, the miner plans to supply another 400 liters/second.

Mining companies outside of the Coquimbo region, noted Reuters, are already using seawater, particularly in the Antofagasta region, to help deal with the long-running drought conditions.

Los Pelambres produces copper concentrate and molybdenum concentrate through a milling and flotation process.

Source: Reuters

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