SINGAPORE BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Plc will invest a combined $3 billion to build a 660-gallon-per-second seawater desalination facility to ensure water supply to the Escondida copper mine in Chile.
Construction, expected to start this week, will include two pipelines, four high-pressure pump stations, a reservoir at the mine site and high-voltage infrastructure to support the system.
The facility, scheduled to be commissioned in 2017, will provide sustainable water supply to the new copper concentrator and minimize Escondidas reliance on the regions aquifers, the companies said.
BHP will invest $1.97 billion for the facility and Rio Tinto will invest $1.03 billion.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.