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Escondida Seawater Desalination Project

Language
Spanish
Category
Water plan
Period
2015
Client
Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction
Owner
BHP Billiton (57.5%), Rio Tinto (30.0%), JECO Corporation (10.0%) and JECO 2(2.5%)
Location
Chile's Atacama Desert
Project

The Escondida Water Supply (EWS) project team successfully constructed a new seawater desalination plant that is linked to the Escondida mine site in the Andes by two 112-mile (180-kilometer), 42-inch (107-centimeter) diameter lined pipelines.
Four high-pressure pump stations move water east from the port across the Atacama Desert and up to a reservoir at the mine, which is 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) above sea level. In addition, we delivered 75 miles (120 kilometers) of new 220-kilovolt transmission lines, built three new substations, and expanded four existing substations to power the system.
​The new plant includes an offshore intake and outfall system more than 65 feet (20 meters) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The system brings seawater into the desalination plant, filters much of its dissolved mineral and biological content using a reverse-osmosis process, and circulates extracted brine and other material back into the ocean. The desalinated water is pumped to the mine. EWS is the largest desalinization plant in the Americas and one of the largest in the world.