FCBI Energy

CSP and mining in Chile

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With a mining industry that produces 35% of the world´s copper, it is imperative for Chile´s economic growth to produce energy from a source that is secure, dispatchable and unlimited. In an exclusive online webinar last week, hosted by CSP Today, experts discussed the positive impact that solar CSP could have on Chile’s mining industry.

With many mining markets located in areas with good DNI conditions, at a glance it seems that the pairing makes perfect sense. CSP could provide a green and potentially cost-competitive source of energy for mining activities, particularly those in emerging markets where access to the electricity grid or gas network may pose a challenge.

Roberto Román, from Universidad de Chile joined Pablo Correa (Suntrace Chile) and Rodrigo García Palma (MIT graduate student and former Head of the Technical Division of the Chilean Renewable Energy Center) to discuss the implications of CSP for the mining industry both for electricity generation and mining processes.

In Chile, where mining companies are the largest energy consumers for both extraction and production processes, CSP activity has already started. CSP giant Abengoa, one of the world’s leading developers, has recently commissioned a 14 MW solar thermal plant for the Minera El Tesoro mine, which is currently the largest CSP plant in South America.  The plant is expected to substitute more than 55% of the diesel fuel currently used in the mine, and also incorporates thermal energy storage.

Another example is Codelco, the National Copper Corporation of Chile, that will implement a thermal solar plant for the purpose of copper separation. The Chilean company Energía Llaima SpA, and  Sunmark A/S from Denmark, were awarded the contract to build the plant that will be used as a heat source for the electro-winning process at the Gaby mine. In this case, the technology employed is not CSP itself, but low temperature solar thermal.

Last week’s webinar examined how CSP could benefit Chile’s booming mining industry for years to come. The proceedings of the webinar can be viewed in full at no cost, by following the link below:


This exclusive webinar was organized in conjunction with CSP Today LATAM 2013, taking place in Antofagasta, Chile on 17-18 July.

For more information about the event contact Belén Gallego, the Founder and Director of CSP Today, at belen@csptoday.com

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