Chile’s Environmental Evaluation Commission has approved the Environmental Impact Study for the ENAPAC (Energías y Aguas del Pacífico) project, which will be located near Copiapó in the Atacama Region. With an initial estimated investment of $500 million, it will become the largest desalination plant in Latin America with a capacity of 2,630 liters per second.

“Our vision is that many users can access a sustainable and clean source of water ceasing the use of continental waters and the basins of the region, which suffer from a severe water stress,” said Rodrigo Silva, CEO, TRENDS Industrial, which is part of TRENDS, a group of companies based in Chile providing various services for Latin American markets. “The response from the industrial sector, especially mining projects, has been very positive and we’re advancing conversations with many companies.”

The solar-powered system is envisioned as a multi-client project. With a 100-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic plant and a 600,000-m³ water reservoir, ENAPAC will be one of the most advanced desalination projects in the world, the company said.

The desalination will be located within the private estate of the Society Los Llanos S.A., which is located near the Pacific Coast along the Copiapó River. The photovoltaic array will sit on more than 200 hectares about 32 km west of Copiapó near to Route 5. The desalinated reservoir, which will be located closer to the mines, will use an innovative floating cover technology to reduce the effects of evaporation.