Latin America: International teams form for USD 1bn Codelco desalination plant

12 February 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

International consortia have formed to bid for the USD 1bn-plus Radomiro Tomic desalination plant being tendered by Chilean mining company Codelco, Inframation has learned. 

The teams include the following companies, according to three sources familiar: 

– InfraRed/Acciona
– Macquarie Capital/Sacyr
– Vinci/Suez/Engie 
– Mitsui/Cobra
– Marubeni/Techint 

Codelco began seeking expressions of interest (EOI) in late January and financial offers are due before the end of 2018, it is understood. Asset Chile, the financial advisor mandated by Codelco to run the tender, declined to comment on the process. 

The Chilean company is seeking developers to build, own, operate and transfer a desalination plant to provide treated seawater to the company’s mining operations for phase II of the Radomiro Tomic sulphides mine in the northern Antofagasta Region.

The desalination project will have a capacity of 630 liter per second (l/s), with a potential of 1,680 l/s, and includes a 160km water pipeline and corresponding pumping systems, as well as related electric infrastructure. The project’s ultrafiltration pre-treatment is located at Caleta Viuda, 14km south of Tocopilla near Antofagasta. 

The plant is not the only water plant being developed around mining facilities. 

In September 2017, BHP Billiton announced that it had selected a Cobra (ACS)/Mitsui consortium to develop the USD 800m Mejillones Bay desalination plant under a private concession contract.