SANTIAGO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Chile's sprawling mining industry, responsible for around a third of global copper output, is set to nearly double its electricity use by 2025 as multibillion-dollar investments come to fruition, state copper commission Cochilco said on Wednesday.
Top copper producer Chile has seen energy costs rise and electricity supply tighten in recent years as major power projects are delayed or suspended due to costly, drawn-out legal battles.
Cochilco forecasts that the mining industry will require an additional 18,000 gigawatts of electricity by 2025 to keep up with rising demand. In August, it projected that mining investment in Chile would amount to around $105 billion through 2023.
"Nowadays of the approximately 22 terawatts per hour of consumption we have, we're forecasting expected consumption ... of almost 40 terawatts per hour by 2025," said Cochilco's head of research, Jorge Cantallopts.
The forecast prompted some criticism from the government, which has been pushing for increased energy efficiency and reduced consumption.
"We don't think it's reasonable for consumption to double," said Energy Undersecretary Jimena Jara. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Anthony Esposito)