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BHP Targets 100% Renewable Energy at Escondida and Spence & Elimination of Water Usage from Aquifers in Chile

Mining News - Published on Tue, 22 Oct 2019

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BHP announced four new renewable power agreements, to meet power demand for its Escondida and Spence copper operations in Chile. The new contracts will meet Escondida and Spence’s current energy needs and also contain flexibility to help manage future demand as well. BHP aims to supply Escondida and Spence’s energy requirements from 100% renewable energy sources from the mid-2020s.

Energy - The separate contracts agreed by Escondida and Spence are 15-year contracts for 3Terawatt hours per year (TWh/year) to ENEL Generación Chile and 10-year contracts for 3TWh/year to Colbún, following a competitive tender process. The ENEL contracts will begin in August 2021 and the Colbún contracts in January 2022. The contracts will effectively displace 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year from 2022 compared to the fossil fuel based contracts they are replacing – this is the equivalent to the annual emissions of around 700,000 combustion engine cars. The new renewable energy contracts will be value accretive even including a provision of approximately US$780 million related to the cancellation of the existing coal contracts which will be recognised in BHP’s December 2019 half year financial results.

Water - In Chile BHP has also been working for more than a decade on eliminating water draw down from aquifers for operational supply by 2030. At Spence, a desalination water plant with a capacity of 1000 litres per second (l/s), will support the Spence Growth Option. Due on line in 2020, the plant will enable the operations to use desalinated water as the main source of supply. At Escondida, a second desalination plant began operating in 2017 with a maximum capacity of 2,500 l/s. Additional upgrades plus the connection of the original desalination plant to this conveyance system will further increase total capacity.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 22 Oct 2019
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