New agreement to advance desalination supply system in Chile

An agreement between UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute Centre of Excellence in Chile (SMI-ICE-Chile) and TRENDS Industrial paves the way for collaboration on an integrated multi-user desalination supply system in Chile’s Atacama region.

Chile, and the Atacama Region in particular, is in a severe drought and continued industrial development, especially by the mining industry, will depend on a sustainable water supply.

SMI-ICE-Chile’s Executive Director Professor David Mulligan said both organisations had been investigating the development of multi-user water supply systems with shared infrastructure alternatives.

“SMI-ICE-Chile is drawing on the skills and expertise of researchers in SMI’s Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry (CWiMI) under this agreement, and initial project funding to support the development of tools for planning regional water supplies has come from SMI’s Complex Orebodies program,” he said.

“This approach will allow for the development of a sustainable mining industry, and provide a mechanism for communities and other industries access to the key resource of water.

“There is opportunity for integrated multi-user systems that optimise costs and minimise impacts through the inclusion of innovative solutions.

“The mining industry is responding and seeking to adopt and implement the outcomes of such initiatives.”

TRENDS Industrial is the company behind the Energías y Aguas del Pacífico project (ENAPAC) a solar powered desalination project in the Atacama Region which aims to ensure the stability of the industrial water supply.

TRENDS Industrial’s CEO Rodrigo Silva said this collaborative approach could improve efficiencies.

“This is a sustainable project from a socio-environmental and economic perspective,” he said.

“It has the potential to reduce the impact on the territory and improve efficiencies, as we have seen in other large-scale mining projects in Chile which collaborated in this way.”