September 27, 2018 / 1:23 PM / in 22 days

Chilean environmental authority approves largest desalination plant in Latin America

(Reuters) - The environmental authority in Chile approved after more than a year of evaluation, the development of the largest desalination plant in Latin America, with an initial investment of about $500 million.

A view of brine pools of a lithium mine on the Atacama Salt Flat in the Atacama Desert, Chile August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Trends Industrial’s ENAPAC project will desalinate sea water for industrial clients in the Atacama desert and mining region in the north of the country, with a maximum capacity of 2,630 liters of water per second.

People gather at the 'Valle de la Luna' (Moon Valley) near San Pedro de Atacama in the Atacama Desert, Chile August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

The region, home to several of Chile’s largest copper deposits, also includes the Salar de Atacama, one of the world’s richest deposits of lithium, the ultra-light metal used in electric car batteries, mobile phones and lap-tops.

With demand for water growing in a region economically vital to the country, Chilean officials are seeking ways to rein in usage.

The ENAPAC project is part of project list by Chile’s Ministry of Economy created to help drive large investment initiatives in the midst of the government’s efforts to boost economic growth.

Reporting by Antonio De La Jara, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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