As a result of water resource scarcity in the north of Chile combined with environmental concerns, some mining companies such as BHP Billiton have decided to supply water to their operations through a system of desalination plants. In some cases, these companies have outsourced their water supply to specialised companies through so-called BOOT (Build – Own – Operate - Transfer) contracts. This type of agreement involves a third party which designs, constructs and then runs the system supplying the water from the desalination plant to the mine for a fixed period of time. This is the situation for the Spence mine (Spence Growth Options project,) which uses a BOOT contract to supply desalinated water to its productive processes in the mine.
CDM Smith supported BHP in the identification and evaluation process for finding a world-class consortium able to provide a BOOT contract just right for the client.
The project comprises a desalination plant (which can process 1,000 litres per second), marine works, a system for pumping the desalinated water over 150 kilometres, and an electrical supply system.
Our experts supported the tender process in technical, commercial and financial questions, prepared the tender documents and advised the client to prepare the BOOT contract. Moreover, we developed a methodology to evaluate proposals and supported our client during the negotiation and adjudication process. All in all, the services provided by CDM Smith helped to find a BOOT contract partner to supply water to the mine.
In the execution phase, our team works closely with BHP as owner engineer, to assist in multiple engineering and construction disciplines including marine works, desalination, conveyance, piping, high voltage, and port logistics.