27.5 MW Provide Heat for Copper Mine in Chile

Since June 2013 a 27.5 MWth installation should cover more than 80% of the heat used to refine copper at the Gaby mine in Chile, one of the largest copper mines in the world. The Danish solar thermal system supplier and collector manufacturer Sunmark has set up the turnkey plant. Indeed, Codelco, the Chilean state-owned mining company, has signed an agreement with the Chilean company Pampa Elvira Solar to deliver solar heat to the mining factory over a 10-year period. The main process in the copper mine is electrolytic refining, during which copper is heated up in a bath to between 46 and 51 °C and deposited through electrolysis, another very electricity-demanding process.
Photo taken from a CNN video during the installation period

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Name of project / installation site

Gaby Copper Mine / 100 km south of the town of Calamara in the high central desert



Start of operation

June 2013


Solar process heat

Collector field size

27.5 MWth / 39,300 m2

Storage size

3,300 m3

Supplied process / network

The solar heat is needed during the last step of copper production, the electrolytic refining of the copper in an acid bath. This bath has to be kept at a temperature of 48 °C at all times.

Predicted specific solar yield per year

1,250 kWh/m2

Predicted solar share

83 %


Codelco, state-owned copper mining company in Chile

Planning / construction

Pampa Elvira Solar, Chile, is also the operator of the solar system selling the heat to Codelco

Collector manufacturer

Sunmark, Denmark


Sunmark, info@sunmark.com   

More information



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