AES plans solar energy project to power copper mines in Chile

AES Gener SA plans to build a $572 million solar farm in northern Chile as it seeks to boost electricity supply to copper mines in the Atacama Desert.

Reuters reports that AES Gener SA, a unit of Virginia-based AES Corp. (NYSE: AES), is asking for a permit to build the farm in Chile’s Antofagasta region where BHP Billiton Ltd. and state-owned Codelco operate copper mines.

BHP, Anglo American Plc and other mining companies will reportedly invest almost $80 billion in Chile through 2013 to overcome a global copper shortage, boosting the need for energy in the Atacama Desert. AES supplies about a third of the energy in northern Chile, according to the article.

AES Gener reportedly also plans to invest $2.5 billion in Chile over the next five years to boost power supplies in the country.

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