Desalination expansion project helps aid Chile mining industry

July 16, 2013
ACCIONA Agua has selected Energy Recovery's premium PX® technology to aid Chile's mining industry through desalination expansion.

SAN LEANDRO, CA, July 16, 2013 -- The country of Chile's mining industry has been enhanced with a new desalination project. Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII), the leader in harnessing reusable energy from industrial fluid flows and pressure cycles, announced that Spanish water company, ACCIONA Agua, has selected the company's premium PX® technology for the Minera CAP expansion desalination project in the South American country.

Earlier this year, ACCIONA was chosen by the Compañía Minera del Pacífico (CAP Group) to carry out water conduits and concentrate project works related to the Minero Cerro Negro Norte Project located in the Copiapó Valley, in Chile's Atacama Region III. The desalination operation will have an initial capacity of 21,830m3/day, with a potential of 39,310 m3/day within the next year.

This is welcoming news to Chile's mining industry, which contributes to 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the northern Atacama region and 20 percent of the country's GDP. This area is referred to as the "desalination frontline" as the agricultural and mining industries compete with each other for current fresh water production.

Mining is one of the main economic activities in Atacama; mined copper exports alone stand for more than one third of government income. In many northern parts of Chile, water extraction is more than the regular rate of replenishment, which is not sustainable long term. As a result, this puts further risks on the entire aquifer if they reach the limits of seawater intrusion. Fortunately, the Chilean government has a very large "aquifer" to the west, the Pacific Ocean, which makes desalination a very simple and real solution to water scarcity problems.

"Chile is on the forefront of a major desalination boom and we are proud to help contribute to the country's economic development in this regard," remarks Tom Rooney, CEO and President of Energy Recovery. "We look forward to working with ACCIONA and the Chilean government in the years to come and helping our partners attain their high environmental and quality objectives."

One of ACCIONA'S goals is to save energy with Energy Recovery's PX technology. In phase I of the project, the water company will be saving 19 million kWh/ year or $USD 1.9 million and reducing the plant's CO² emissions by over 11,000 tons. The potential additional savings for Phase II would be 15 million kWh/year or $USD 1.5 million and close to 9,000 tons of CO² per year.

Energy Recovery technology is well known in Chile and is being used in numerous desalination plants throughout the country. The Company is working with Spanish water companies ACCIONA Agua, Valoriza, Aqualia and Cadagua, and is in early stage discussions with Israeli, American and Korean companies around the world who view Chile as a strong future market. Many of the legacy plants are still using Pelton technology because electricity costs were lower at the time of design. Now that energy costs have risen significantly, the PX technology is an attractive choice for upgrade in the near future as the payback for investment is within months.

About Energy Recovery

Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII) technology harvests power from high-pressure fluid flows and pressure cycles. Through collaboration with industry, Energy Recovery helps make industrial processes within water, oil & gas, and other industries more profitable and environmentally sustainable. With over 14,000 energy recovery devices installed worldwide, Energy Recovery sets the standard for engineering excellence, cost savings, and technical services to clients across the globe. Year after year, the company's clean technologies save clients over $1.2 Billion (USD) in energy costs. Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Energy Recovery has offices in Madrid, Shanghai, and Dubai.


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