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SADDN reaches 43% completion with support from over 3,000 workers

Published 12.6.2024

The construction is progressing on all fronts, including Marine Works, the Desalination Plant, and Pumping Stations, as well as trenching and duct installation, and the setup of the first camp.


The Desalinated Water Supply Project for the Northern District of Codelco (SADDN), undertaken by Techint Engineering and Construction, encompasses the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) of the Desalination Plant and the Water Intake and Pumping System for Aguas Horizonte. This project stands out as one of the most technically complex and significant that the company has executed in its more than 70 years in Chile.

Desalination · plant.

A year since the commencement of work in Caleta Viuda, the project has made substantial progress.


Focus on local employment

In the first quarter of 2024, the workforce and the ammount of equipments have grown significantly, now involving over 3,000 people and 400 pieces of equipment. Freddy Quezada, Project Human Resources Manager, emphasizes the company’s commitment to regional development and local job creation. “Approximately 12% of the workers on various fronts are from the Antofagasta region, and more than 200 are from the Tocopilla community, which is a very significant figure. We are happy to support and contribute to neighboring communities by employing local talent,” he states.

Coastal · cliff.

Coastal · cliff.

Quezada also adds: “We strive to integrate local suppliers and subcontractors to positively leverage neighboring capacities in various areas, such as workshops, manufacturing and construction of fences and prefabricated elements, freight transport (equipment and pipes), hardware stores, among others.”


Project progress

As of now, in Caleta Viuda, on the east side of Route 1, the construction of the foundations and columns for the Desalination Plant, the Main Substation, and Pumping Station (PS) 1 is progressing steadily, alongside the development of Camp KM 14. On the west side of Route 1, the construction of the auxiliary pier continues, where the trench for the offshore pipeline will be excavated. Work has also begun on the Sentina, from which water will be pumped to the Desalination Plant.

At the Mejillones Port Complex (CPM), various sections of the offshore pipeline are being welded, ready to be launched into the sea towards Caleta Viuda.

Pumping · station.

Camp · KM 14.

“Taking seawater and transporting it to 3,000 meters above sea level is a massive challenge. The initial push is done by PS 1, where we have completed the major earthworks and are working on the foundations for the pump buildings and electrical buildings,” explains Rodolfo Escobar, Operations Analyst and part of the Young Professionals Program (JP) in Chile.

He further adds: “Given the nature of the project, we work in some remote areas with difficult access. This demands solid planning and strengthened coordination to effectively meet the challenges.”

Marine · works.

Furthermore, PS 2, with the worksite already set up, continues with the construction of platforms for the tank, pumps, and pool, and the foundations have begun.

Within the Northern District, excavation of the large water reservoir that will feed the distribution system to Radomiro Tomic and Chuquicamata has started, with the accumulation of ducts already in progress.


Pipes reaching their destination

Regarding the pumping system, the challenging phase of opening the track on the coastal cliff has begun, with only 20% of the track remaining outside the Northern District of Codelco. Over 30 kilometers of trenching has been completed with three trenchers in operation, while the accumulation and deployment of pipes are advancing.

Unloading · of pipes.

Accumulation · of pipes.

Additionally, the transport and unloading of pipes have commenced at depots No. 5 and No. 6. Jenrry Abanto, Transport Supervisor, highlights the main challenges: “The accesses are critical and very remote. Before entering any of the depots, we study the route together with the Ducts team. We cannot enter from just anywhere; we must use the access whose associated risks and transport hazards can be controlled.”

Notably, the pipe deployment begins in Mejillones, specifically at Puerto Angamos, and ends at PK 152 in Calama, where unloading is taking place before moving to the bending phase. Currently, the seventh and final shipment of pipes is crossing the Atlantic from India and is expected to arrive in Chile in the coming days.

For more details on the pipe shipment from India to Chile, click here .

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