Chilean environmental authority approves largest desalination plant in Latin America

Slideshow ( 2 images )

(Reuters) - The environmental authority in Chile approved after more than a year of evaluation, the development of the largest desalination plant in Latin America, with an initial investment of about $500 million.

Trends Industrial’s ENAPAC project will desalinate sea water for industrial clients in the Atacama desert and mining region in the north of the country, with a maximum capacity of 2,630 liters of water per second.

The region, home to several of Chile’s largest copper deposits, also includes the Salar de Atacama, one of the world’s richest deposits of lithium, the ultra-light metal used in electric car batteries, mobile phones and lap-tops.

With demand for water growing in a region economically vital to the country, Chilean officials are seeking ways to rein in usage.

The ENAPAC project is part of project list by Chile’s Ministry of Economy created to help drive large investment initiatives in the midst of the government’s efforts to boost economic growth.

Reporting by Antonio De La Jara, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama