Context: Water Scarcity and Desertification
The threat of climate change has called into question the resilience of the mining industry, especially considering that minerals are highly concentrated in areas at risk of climate and water stress. This threat is particularly significant when we consider that mining is the most relevant activity in the country. In general terms, it accounts for around 12% of the gross domestic product, 60% of exports, and 20% of fiscal revenues in Chile.
According to Cochilco, by 2023, 71% of the water used in mining activities will come from the ocean. This means that while continental or terrestrial water will decrease by 45% by 2033, the water resource from the sea will increase by 167% in the same period.
ENAPAC: It is the project that addresses concerns about reduced water availability due to climate change and desertification processes, proposing an environmentally and economically sustainable solution for the mining industry in the Atacama region.
It is located 30 kilometers south of the city of Caldera and 32 kilometers and 36 kilometers west of the cities of Copiapó and Tierra Amarilla, respectively.
The project consists of the efficient production and pumping of desalinated water, powered by a solar plant, which results in lower water production costs in the area. It is the only greenfield desalination project with approved environmental qualification resolution. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2024.