The aim of the project was to ensure continued water supply to Escondida, as water use increased with the completion of the 152,000 tonne per day OGP1 copper concentrator. Construction of the new desalination facility commenced in July 2013 and includes the development of two pipelines, four high pressure pump stations, a reservoir at the mine site and high voltage infrastructure to support the system. The new facility will be commissioned in 2017. Securing a sustainable water supply in the Atacama Desert is a major priority for all Chilean copper producers, so the approval of the Escondida Water Supply project is a significant milestone.The new desalination facility will minimise reliance on the region’s aquifers, which will help to meet environmental commitments.

Los Colorados ore concentrator, Escondida.