Chile could be the make or break of the concentrated solar power industry in finding a way to work closely with the mining industry.
As part of the inaugural CSP Today LATAM conference, CSP Today has commissioned an article looking at the potential of CSP and mining combining forces. Mining is fast becoming an area of interest for CSP development, particularly those utilizing storage applications. This is not surprising: whilst mines are increasing their production to meet growing demand, they are also under mounting pressure to introduce sustainable, ‘green’, initiatives into their processes.
With many mining markets located in areas with good DNI conditions, at a glance it seems that the pairing makes perfect sense. CSP could provide a green and potentially cost-competitive source of energy for mining activities, particularly those in emerging markets where access to the electricity grid or gas network may pose a challenge.
In Chile, where the mining companies are the largest energy consumers for both extraction and production processes, CSP activity has already started. The Spanish company Abengoa has recently commissioned a 14 MW solar thermal plant for Minera El Tesoro, which is currently the largest CSP plant in South America. The plant is expected to substitute more than 55% of the diesel fuel currently used in the process, and also incorporates thermal energy storage. Minera El Tesoro will participate at CSP Today LATAM 2013 (Antofagasta, Chile, July 17-18) to speak about their experience with CSP and projects for the future.
Another example is Codelco, the National Copper Corporation of Chile that will implement a thermal solar plant for the copper separation process. The Chilean company Llaima, SpA, and the Danish company Sunmark were awarded the contract to build the plant that will be used as a heat source for the electro-winning process of Gaby mine. In this case, the technology employed is not CSP itself, but low temperature solar thermal.
The agenda of CSP Today LATAM 2013 includes 2 full sessions dedicated to explore the combination of both industries with confirmed speakers from Minera El Tesoro, Minera Collahuasi and Angloamerican with other names expected to be announced over the next few weeks. To see full details for this event please visit www.csptoday.com/latam