ENVIRONMENT

Chile mines cut continental water use

Continental water use by the mining industry in Chile fell 6.8% in 2019 to 12.45 cubic metres per second compared with 2018, according to state copper agency Cochilco in its annual water report.

The desalination plant for Escondida in Chile

The desalination plant for Escondida in Chile

Cochilco said part of the fall was due to a 1% reduction in the quantity of mineral processed as well as miners moving to use more seawater and to recirculate water more.

The agency said seawater use increased by 1.7% to 4.06cu.m/s and recirculated water by 15% to 53.32cu.m/s, with a national recirculation rate of 76% compared with 73% in 2018.

Seawater now provides some 25% of the water used by mining with 1.84cu.m/s used directly in processes while 2.22cu.m/s is desalinated seawater. The majority is consumed by copper mines in northern Chile.

 

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