Chile’s Codelco has canceled a contract awarded to Japan’s MTT Consortium to build a desalination plant to guarantee copper production to feed its northern mines. Japanese companies Marubeni, Transelec and Techint had come together to form the MTT consortium
The copper producer did not give further details about the potential impact of the retendering process, but said that the tender was canceled due to recently identified opportunities to develop adjustments to the project.
Under the adjusted plan, the desalination plant is essential to enable the sustainability of operations in the Northern District, in the medium and long term. The distribution of desalinated water from the reservoir at Radomiro Tomic to all Calama work centers will also be added to the project in addition to RT, Chuquicamata and Minister Hales.
The mining project had an estimated investment of around $1bn, according to the company and the relaunched tender for the desalination plant will take place within the next 24 months.
The desalination project has a capacity of 840 liters per second and construction was expected to start in Q1 2020 with operations scheduled for 2022.
Codelco produced 1.2mn tonnes of copper in the first nine months this year, down 6.7pc in comparison the same period last year.