Veolia Water Chile and Vapor Procesos, a Chilean solutions provider for copper recovery from mining operations, have secured a contract with Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, to recover copper from tailings pond water at Codelco’s El Teniente mine, located 75 miles south of Santiago de Chile.
Veolia Water Chile and Vapor Procesos established a joint venture called Veolia W Procesos (VWP) to provide metal recovery services to Chile’s mining industry. As part of the new contract, VWP will design, build and begin operation of a new mining effluent processing facility in 2013 at El Teniente mine, the world’s largest underground copper mine, under an initial five-year contract. The mine has been operating since 1905 and produces approximately 400,000 metric tons of copper annually.
The new facility will utilize various technologies to treat 3 million cu m of water per year (approximately 792 million gal) and recover a total of approximately 1,680 tons of copper over the contract term.
“Vapor Procesos is an excellent partner and together we are proud to bring a proven and sustainable technical solution to Codelco for product recovery,” said Steve Hopper, executive vice president, Veolia Water Americas. “The El Teniente mine presents an excellent opportunity to provide a value-creating service that will enhance the company’s production, while minimizing the impact on the environment.”
The partnership between Veolia Water Chile and Vapor Procesos integrates engineering and operational teams from both companies to deliver a complete solution to Codelco. Several other projects are already being developed through this partnership.
“Veolia Water’s expertise in recovering value from wastewater combined with our vast experience in copper recovery from low-grade inflows is a perfect fit for Codelco, and we hope to extend our relationship to other Chilean mining companies,” said Alberto Campos, CEO, Vapor Procesos.
The Chilean mining sector offers substantial opportunities for growth given the market needs associated with numerous tailings ponds and existing environmental liability.