Anglo to source nearly half of Los Bronces water from desalination plant

Los Bronces

ANGLO American has secured desalinated water supply for its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile from 2025, the group said today.

This is following the signing of an agreement with Aguas Pacífico, a Chilean water desalination and solutions provider. The desalinated water will meet almost half of the mine’s water requirements and is the first phase of a programme to draw no fresh water from the Andean mine at all.

“Anglo American has set an ambition of reducing fresh water abstraction in water scarce regions by 50% by 2030,” said Ruben Fernandes, CEO of Anglo American Base Metals. “This agreement – which is the first phase of a larger and longer term integrated water project to eliminate our use of fresh water at our Los Bronces operation – is an important step towards achieving that goal,” he added.

The Central zone of Chile, where Los Bronces is located, has been affected by a decade-long severe drought. The plant will supply more than 45% of Los Bronces’ needs while also providing clean water to approximately 20,000 people in communities local to the operation, the group said.

Anik Michaud, group director of corporate relations and sustainable impact, said Anglo was planning a swap scheme to provide desalinated water for human consumption in exchange for treated wastewater. “This would allow us to stop drawing any fresh water for Los Bronces – our ultimate goal.”

In this first phase, Anglo American will be supplied with desalinated water from a plant that is being built in the Valparaiso region by Aguas Pacífico.

The water will be transported via pipeline to our Las Tortolas plant from where it will be pumped up to the Los Bronces mine. Anglo American will also provide desalinated water to supply the nearby communities of Colina and Til Til, benefiting approximately 20,000 people, the group said.