Minera Centinela achieves goal of 100% operation with seawater

After almost two years of work, Antofagasta Minerals’ Minera Centinela says it managed to materialise its decision to start operating 100% with seawater beginning Saturday, December 31. In this way, it has put an end to the extraction of groundwater, which was equivalent to 8% of the water used by the company.

Getting to this point required the execution of various projects, whose investment amounted to approximately $131 million. This, explains Carlos Espinoza, General Manager of the company, “is because we are aware of the importance of evolving with conviction and a sense of urgency towards a mining that takes charge of the effects of climate change and ensures the care of the water resource in the driest desert in the world.”

He adds: “Centinela has been characterised from its origins by its commitment to the environment and sustainability, which has been reflected “in actions like this, which reflect a modern and responsible way of doing mining.” Centinela was also a pioneer in the use of thickened tailings. In addition, its operation includes a solar thermal plant to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

In 2021 it obtained The Copper Mark international certification, an entity that guarantees that copper production is in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development goals and since January 2022 it has operated with electricity from 100% renewable sources. The official start of the operation of Minera Centinela with 100% seawater also contributes to the goal of the wider Antofagasta Minerals group that by 2025 more than 90% of the water used by its operations will be from the sea and recycled.