Sedapal plans joint water projects with miners

Bnamericas Published: Monday, October 25, 2021
Sedapal plans joint water projects with miners

Peruvian water utility Sedapal is eyeing joint projects with miners in the central highlands to ensure supply for Lima over the next two decades.

Sedapal's chairman Francisco Dumler (pictured) told BNamericas that the utility seeks agreements to channel water produced during the extraction process. Initial investment is US$45mn under the works-for-taxes model.

“The quality of the water that is extracted from underground mining operations is very good and we must take advantage of that, since it is currently being discharged into rivers,” Dumler said.

Dumler wants to transfer water using the crucial Huascacocha reservoir.

According to the utility’s preliminary analysis, about 10 mining units are in areas close to the company’s 23 reservoirs (lagoons) in the central highlands where it stores water that reaches Lima via a transfer complex.

Volcan's Chungar unit, one of Glencore's main assets, has expressed interest in the project since 2020. Its mines are 7.2km from the Huascacocha reservoir.

Dumler also said that Pan American Silver's Huarón unit is 8km from the reservoir.

Other mining units that operate in nearby areas belong to Buenaventura and Nexa.

A preliminary study by Sedapal concluded that production from the Chungar and Pan American units could add 2.3m3/s to the 25m3/s Lima needs.

After finishing repairs of the reservoir in Lima’s San Juan de Lurigancho district, Sedapal’s focus will shift to the project with the miners. Sedapal is the only of the 50 sanitation companies Sunass regulates that does not receive state aid.

Involving miners in Lima’s water supply could help improve the mining sector’s image, Dumler said. Mining is the country’s main generator of foreign exchange.

Sedapal uses its reservoirs in the upper parts of the Andes during the dry season between April and November to supply water. In this sense, the company needs to permanently improve its water sources and its collection and storage system.

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