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Carola Sepulveda
Water for mining lead, Peru

“When I look back on my career, I want my legacy to be the solutions our teams are finding at a critical moment for the mining industry in Latin America.”

Carola Sepulveda of Worley.

Carola leads water projects in Latin America. Based in our Lima office, she addresses water challenges facing miners in some of the most water stressed regions on Earth.

“Every project is different, so each day brings a new problem to solve,” Carola smiles. “But the common thread is that a sustainable water management strategy should be both robust and adaptable. The climate is changing, sustainability expectations are growing, and our mining customers need to maintain their social license to operate.”

A career spanning four continents

Carola’s career began in Chile, but she wasn’t immediately drawn to the water field.

“I got my chemical engineering degree followed by a degree in environmental studies,” she says. “And my first job was as a process engineer in the paper and pulp industry.

“I then relocated to Austria, working for the Institute of Sustainable Waste Management at the Mining University of Leoben,” Carola continues. “Before moving to Australia to work as an assistant researcher for the flocculation group at the Centre for Multiphase Processes, University of Newcastle.”

Carola sitting on a paddle board with her dog in the water.

During her time in Australia, Carola developed an interest in water issues in mining.

“Flocculation is about separating solid particles from a liquid, which has a big impact on how responsible miners are with water,” she explains. “I knew from that point I wanted to help miners make better use of water. And I’ve worked on projects across North America and Latin America ever since.”

Embracing the challenge of the water-energy nexus

Carola has a unique perspective on the challenges South American miners are facing.

“Water supply, transportation and treatment requires a lot of energy,” she explains. “But I see a future where the trade-offs between water and energy are less prominent.

Carola standing in the middle of creek in running water.

“Every mining project in a water stressed region should include plans to reduce water consumption through reuse, recycle and recovery,” Carola continues. “The other piece is decarbonizing the energy needed to source water for processes, using renewable sources like solar and wind.

“This isn’t easy,” says Carola. “But it’s rewarding to collaborate with experts in different industries and geographies to bring complex and sustainable solutions together”.

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