Mining processes are energy intensive in their operation. One of them is electro winning (EW), where it is required to heat water or electrolyte solutions in order to optimize the process and thus to obtain high quality cathodes. One of the main heat sources used for heating these solutions is diesel fuel. Up to some years ago Gabriela Mistral Division of Codelco (formerly Minera Gaby) was no exception and used petroleum fuel to heat up process water.
However, in the search for cleaner initiatives, respectful of the environment, this Division of Codelco, state owned corporation and world largest copper producer, in 2012 signed a contract with Energia Llaima (Chile) and Arcon-Sunmark (Denmark), whereby this consortium would build and operate a solar thermal plant which would heat 80% of the water required for the EW process.