• The project will work to provide non-desalinated seawater to expand operations at Centinela, Northern Chile.
  • The agreement follows the construction of a second copper concentrator plant (Nueva Centinela) at the existing site.

Antofagasta Minerals and a consortium jointly owned by Almar Water Solutions, part of Jameel Environmental Services, and Transelec (‘the Consortium’) today announced an agreement for a water transportation system for the Centinela mining operation in Chile.  The initiative, around a US$ 1.5 billion investment, will double the current supply of seawater by improving the existing pipeline alongside the construction of a second pipeline.

To support this expansion, the agreement between Antofagasta Minerals and the Consortium will work to expand the water supply to the site, working to support the mine’s operations safely and sustainably, particularly in the extraction of the mine’s copper and gold resources.  This expansion will be held by Aguas Esperanza SPA.

The significant infrastructure project includes the acquisition and operation of a 144km long water pipeline that transports 1,194 lps (110,678 m3/day) supplying seawater approximately 60km north from the mining site at Michilla, where Centinela’s’s port is located.  The construction and operation of a new pipeline 144 km long and 650 lps (56,333 m3/day), parallel to the existing pipeline to provide seawater, will work to facilitate the planned expansion of the mine via the second concentrator project, also known as Nueva Centinela, which will add 144,000 tons of copper, 3,500 tons of molybdenum, and an additional 130,000 ounces of gold extraction per year.

The process will not use continental water or involve desalination, with the limited processing and offshore sourcing adding to the site’s sustainability credentials, preserving resources in the region whilst limiting emissions related to the extraction process.

Carlos Cosín, CEO, Almar Water Solutions, commented:

“The scale of this project marks a strategically important milestone for Almar Water Solutions. Today’s agreement is the latest example of the increasing trend towards outsourcing in the industrial sector. With today’s agreement, Almar Water Solutions will not only supply water to the Centinela mine but also contribute to the preservation of scarce natural water sources in the region.”

Transelec’s General Manager, Arturo Le Blanc, emphasized that: “This new project consolidates us as the main provider of non-continental water for large-scale mining, following the contract signed with Codelco for the construction of the desalination plant for the Northern District, through the Aguas Horizonte consortium. We demonstrate that Transelec Group are not only experts in electricity transmission but are also increasingly establishing ourselves as a solid alternative for developing linear water infrastructure in this productive sector.”

The project will begin operations in 2026 following a 20-month construction process, with this phase employing around 1,500 local people.  The water system operation will be managed by the Aguas Norte y Desarrollo (Nordes) consortium, comprising Almar Water Servicios Latam and Transelec.