Chilean government moves to require desalination in mining operations

Jan. 3, 2014

VALPARAISO, Chile — The proposed bill is meant to address increasing industry demand and decreasing water supply.

VALPARAISO, Chile — Chile's government has introduced a bill that will make it mandatory for mining operations to incorporate desalinated seawater into their operations, according to an article on

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The law would apply to mine companies that use over 150 liters of water per second to provide a solution to increasing industry demand and decreasing water supply, the article reported.

Mining companies including BHP's Escondida, Freeport-McMoRan's El Abra, the Radomiro Tomic and Chuquicamata divisions of state-owned copper miner Codelco have already included desalination plants at their facilities, noted the article.

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According to the article, the problem posed by the bill is that costs of desalination in Chile are currently twice as expensive as in the United States and Mexico.

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