Commodity Swings Alter LatAm Desal Landscape

18 Mar 2015
Available with corporate subscription

In the first quarter of 2015, Latin America’s desalination sector is showing an uptick in project activity with discrete opportunities in Chile and Mexico.

In February 2015, FCC Aqualia signed contracts worth US$94 million in Mexico and Chile, including a US$12.7 million desalination project with Chilean mining company Codelco. These water infrastructure contracts represent the company’s first significant contract wins in the region since divesting its 50% stake in Latin American partnership Proactiva in 2013.

Also in the first quarter of 2015, Codelco awarded GS Inima a 72,580 m3/d design & build contract in Tocopilla, Chile. This is a third desalination plant for GS Inima in Chile after Arica (1998) and Antofagasta (2002) totaling 60,000 m3/d. In addition, GS Inima received financing for its 21,000 m3/d Ensenada, Mexico desalination plant at the close of 2014. It will be financed through the North American Development Bank (US$22 million) and Mexico’s National Infrastructure Fund (US$14 million).

Bluefield Takeaways

  • Mining sector positioned to accelerate
  • Energy markets impacting Latin America desalination
  • Recent developments underpin regional optimism