|Owners||Vale S.A. - 90%
Compania Minera Werenfried - 10%
|Operator||Sociedad Contractual Minera Tres Valles|
Copper - 9,000t copper cathode (2011)
|Deposit Type||Stratabound type copper deposit|
|Reserves & Resources||
|Mine Type||Surface & Underground|
|Mining Method||Open pit|
|Processing Method||Hydrometallurgical, SX-EW|
|Mine Life||To 2022|
|Mining Equipment||Truck & shovel, Drills, LHDs|
|Processing equipment||Heap leachingl circuits, solvent extraction plant (SX), electrowinning plant (EW)|
|Employees||Approx. 300 (2011)|
|Contact Information||Minera Vale
Calle Rosario Norte, 615 - Of.1201, Las Condes, RM
Ph: (2) 7957000
Last updated: August 9, 2012
Tres Valles copper operation is the first project of Vale in Chile. The project was inaugurated in December 2010.
The Tres Valles operations include two copper oxide mines: Don Gabriel, an open-pit mine and Papomono, an underground mine, as well as an SX-EW plant that produce copper cathodes.
Located in Salamanca, in the Coquimbo region, the plant has an estimated annual production capacity of 18.5kt copper cathode, and is the first industrial-scale cathode plant using a hydro-metallurgical process.
Tres Valles is located in Salamanca, in the Coquimbo region, Chile.
The IV Region de Coquimbo is one of Chile's fifteen first order administrative regions. It is located in the narrowest part of the country some 400 km north of Santiago de Chile. It is a mountainous region that host the endangered Chilean Wine Palm. The region's capital and largest city is La Serena.
Mining, agriculture, tourism and fishing are the region's economic mainstays.
The property is located on the Lower Cretaceous-age belt where stratabound-type copper deposits are found. On the area outcrops mainly the formations: Quebrada Marqueza and Viñita, both of Lower Cretaceous, the first one is composed by alternated andesite with volcanic/andesite breccias, meanwhile, the Viñita formation is composed by red andesites, red volcanic breccias and conglomerate/red sandstone.
Vale began its exploration activities in the region in 2005. Successful exploration programs resulted in the discovery and delineation of the Papomono and Gabriel mineral deposits. They are both copper oxide type mineralization.
All the cash flow generated by the mining operation would be reinvested in exploration work in the Andean region.
The Tres Valles operations include two copper oxide mines: Don Gabriel, an open-pit mine, and Papomono, an underground mine.
Mine life was estimated at 11 years. (2011).
The copper oxide ore is amenable to heap leaching and solvent extraction electrowinning processing methods.
The plant has an estimated annual production capacity of 18.5kt copper cathode, and is the first industrial-scale cathode plant using a hydro-metallurgical process.
There are no known environmental issues. Some of the mining works and facilities are close to local communities and that could have/had the potential to generate some social conflicts e.g. the open pit is less than 1 km of the community of Maquehua, and the heap leach pads are no more than 200 m from the the last inhabited house at Chucini.