Skip to main content
IDB approves $20.9 million for desalinization plant in Chile

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of $20.9 million in financing to Desalant S.A. to build a desalinization plant in Antofagasta, Chile.

The project, the first seawater desalinization plant financed by the IDB, will enable the Antofagasta water company to meet a growing demand for water in an arid region through 2040 and service both the population and industry, particularly the mining sector, the main economic activity of the area.

The plant will be built in up to four modular stages according with the growth in demand for water. The first stage includes intake piping, an 11 kilometer delivery line and processing machinery needed for the initial capacity of 13,000 cubic meters a day. Each subsequent expansion stage will also have a production capacity of 13,000 cubic meters a day, reaching a capacity of 52,000 cubic meters a day after all four stages are completed.

Desalant, a special purpose company owned by the OHL Group of Spain, will operate the plant on a 20-year BOT (build-operate-transfer) concession from the Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios de Antofagasta, S.A., the water company for Chile’s Region II. The IDB financing, which will cover the first stages of the project, includes a $7 million loan from the Bank’s ordinary capital (A loan) and a syndicated loan (B loan) of $13.9 million.

The total financing for both the first stage and first expansion is expected to be $46.8 million. The project company will finance $25.9 million of the investment through equity contributions and internally generated cash flow.

In addition to helping to meet infrastructure needs of the water sector and contributing to sustainable economic growth of the Antofagasta area, the project will serve as a demonstration for the application of reverse osmosis desalination technology on a large scale in the Atacama Desert region.

Jump back to top