This chapter reviews the use of seawater in the mining industry in Chile, especially from the perspective of the current situation and the innovative proposals for its sustainable use. This chapter describes the current use of seawater, with and without desalting, in the mining sector in Chile, as well as its future projection. Descriptions are given for the current desalination systems, mining operations currently using seawater and new projects, current water distribution systems, seawater applications in hydrometallurgy and minerals concentration, their environmental impacts, and difficulties in adapting processes in case of use of seawater without desalination. This is complemented by a description of mining in Chile, its importance for Chile and its relationship to the global mining. Finally, problems and opportunities are identified. A second aspect considered in this chapter is the innovative solutions that are being investigated to solve some of the problems indicated above, including integrated seawater distribution systems, seawater biodesalination, partial desalination using carbon dioxide, adaptation of process to the use of seawater without desalination, and uses of discard brines from reverse osmosis plants.
Part of the book: Case Study of Innovative Projects