Minera Collahuasi, owned by Glencore, Anglo American and JCR and located in the Tarapacá Region (northern Chile), has initiated the permitting process for the continued operations of its “Development of Infrastructure and Improvement of Productive Capacity” project, which it said will require an investment of US$3.2 billion over the next five years. With this initiative, the total amount of money invested for permitting new projects in Chile amounted to US$8.5 billion last year, with a total of 92 projects.

This news comes on top of two other recent major announcements: the development of Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (US$5 billion) and the expansion at Los Pelambres (US$1.2 billion). Other notable Chilean projects such as Rajo Inca (US$1 billion), Salares Norte (US$1 billion) and Proyecto Blanco (US$527 million) also began the permitting process.

As for the “Development of Infrastructure and Improvement of Productive Capacity” project, Doña Inés de Collahuasi mining company explained its objective is to ensure the continuity of copper mining operations for the next 20 years, improving the sulphide processing capacity from 170,000 tons per day (t/d) to 210,000 t/d, extending and integrating the environmental permits and considering a complementary source of water supply, which implies a decrease in the use of continental water. Therefore, the company is considering the construction and operation of a seawater desalination plant to work along with its existing system for pumping and transporting desalinated water, the company said. The project will preserve approximately 19,000 jobs and add 2,000 construction-related jobs.