Chile Starts Solar-Powered Desalination Plant in Desert North

Chile’s government will start a solar-powered desalination plant in the Atacama Desert and seeks to expand use of the technology in the world’s largest copper- producing nation.

The plant will operate in the Lluta Valley treating salty water from a river to boost local agriculture, Fundacion Chile said in a statement published in the Electricidad website today. Fundacion Chile is a state-sponsored entity that promotes technological innovation.

The plant will be Chile’s first powered by solar energy, Fundacion Chile said. Mining companies including Anglo American Plc (AAL), Cap SA (CAP) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) are also building desalination plants on the desert’s Pacific coastline to expand copper and iron ore mining.

The success of the plant may lead to broader use of the technology in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, Carolina Cuevas of Fundacion Chile said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Craze in Santiago at mcraze@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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