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Chilean mining sector's energy consumption expected to double by 2021

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Energy consumption by the Chilean mining industry is expected to increase to 40TWh by 2021, which represents an increase of 91% over current consumption, according to a new study by state copper commission Cochilco.

The study includes existing mine operations as well as planned investment projects. It also considers desalination plants linked to mining companies.

"Increased energy consumption does not mean energy is less efficient, but is due to structural factors that imply increased ore processing, as well as the new copper projects that are expected to go online in the coming years," mining minister Hernán de Solminihac said in a press release.

The study coincides with a previous Cochilco study from August 2012 that said energy consumption by local miners was expected to increase by 97% by 2020.

Cochilco said the SING grid, that feeds the country's northern regions and where the majority of mining operations are located, is expected to see a 90% increase in energy consumption from 13TWh in 2013 to 24TWh in 2021.

Total mining investments are estimated to reach US$113bn by 2021, of which 38.8% are expected to take place in northern region II.

Energy consumption by miners in the central SIC grid is expected to go up 93% to 16TWh in 2021 from 8TWh in 2013.

Copper mining projects, the country's largest single export, will continue to be the dominant consumer, accounting for 62% of energy consumption in 2021 from 49% in 2013.

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