Mining Intelligence and News

Tia Maria Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Copper
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe Tia Maria property is currently under the development stage. The Southern Copper was granted the construction permit in July 2019. Additionally, in October 2019, the Mining Council of the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines ratified the construction permit for the Tia Maria project. The Southern Copper expects the Peruvian government to take the necessary steps to provide the Southern Copper with adequate support to initiate construction.

The Tia Maria project in Peru has experienced delays while trying to resolve issues with community groups. Seemingly in the Peruvian mining environment, it is becoming crucial to obtain acceptance from local communities for projects in their areas.

Southern Copper expects to begin the construction phase of the project in the near future. Southern Copper will make it a priority to hire local labor to fill the 9,000 jobs that are expected to be generated during Tia Maria’s construction.


Grupo Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V. 88.27 % Indirect
Ownership Tree
The Tia Maria Project is wholly owned by Southern Copper Corporation, Sucursal del Perú, which is a majority-owned, indirect subsidiary of Grupo Mexico S.A.B de CV.



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Deposit type

  • Porphyry
  • Vein / narrow vein


Tia Maria Project comprises La Tapada and Tia Maria deposits. The La Tapada and Tía María deposits are examples of porphyry copper deposits.

The La Tapada and Tía Maria deposits are within the northwest–southeast-trending Tambo–El Toro structural corridor that appears to be a large dextral shear zone. There are a number of vein-hosted copper–gold–hematite deposits also associated with the corridor, outside our mineral tenure package. Alteration within the project area is associated with the two porphyry systems currently outlined. The only known mineralization is derived from oxidation of low-grade porphyry copper systems.

La Tapada
Deposit Dimensions
The La Tapada deposit is approximately 1,250 m long, 800 m wide, and 630 m thick. Mineralization has been drill tested to a depth of about 630 m. The deposit remains open at depth.

Weathering resulted in three zones of oxidation and mineralization, a leached cap, an oxide zone, and a primary or hypogene zone (Figure 6-6). There is no significant supergene enrichment at La Tapada.

Leached Zone
Leached cap mineralization consists of iron oxides (limonite, goethite, jarosite, and hematite) in fractures. Goethite and specularite hematite predominate over jarosite in some sections of the deposit. This zone is typically barren of copper but locally contains gold grades similar to the grades in unweathered rocks.

Oxide Zone
The economic mineralization at La Tapada is oxide copper consisting of chrysocolla, brochantite, antlerite, and atacamite with minor amounts of malachite and cuprite. Peripheral to this mineralization are veins and veinlets with oxide copper associated with specularite. Molybdenite is infrequent and occurs in veinlets devoid of other sulfides or alteration haloes.

Supergene Zone
Secondary sulfides replacing primary sulfides are primarily chalcocite with minor covellite and digenite. Cuprite and native copper occur rarely. There is no significant supergene enriched zone.

Primary Zone
Mineralization occurs as weak disseminations of chalcopyrite in the host rock matrix and as veins and veins associated with silica, gypsum/anhydrite and to a lesser extent as specularite. At depth, copper mineralization consists of disseminated chalcopyrite and veinlets with a gypsum/anhydrite–chalcopyrite assemblage and chalcopyrite veinlets as thick as 1.5 cm The dominant mineralized veinlets chalcopyrite–gypsum/anhydrite, chalcopyrite, specular chalcopyrite, chalcopyrite–pyrite assemblages, and to a lesser extent, chalcopyrite–bornite veinlets. Magnetite occurs as disseminated grains, but also occurs as veins, occasionally with chalcopyrite.

Tía María
Deposit Dimensions
The Tía María deposit is approximately 1,750 m long, 300 m wide, and averages 300 m thick. Mineralization has been drill tested to a depth of 500 m. The deposit remains open at depth and along the northwest and southeast flanks; however, the open extents are mainly primary sulfide mineralization.

Mineralization of economic interest is primarily copper oxide minerals in the oxide zone. Weathering produced three zones—a leached cap, an oxide zone, and a primary or hypogene zone. There is no significant supergene enrichment at Tía María.

Vein Types A number of vein types are associated with local structures: Stockworks occur throughout the deposit. They are oriented in all directions and are predominantly “A” veins with minor “D” veins and rare “B” veins:
-“A” veins are the most common and occur in all rock types, consisting of quartz veins with no sulfides;
-“B” veins are uncommon, and found deep in the system. They consist of gray quartz with molybdenite;
-“D” veins are irregularly distributed, but most commonly occur near porphyry intrusive units, and comprise gray quartz with K-feldspar halos. Pyrite and chalcopyrite can occur in the halo or in the vein centers;
-Quartz veins composed of predominantly quartz with rare specularite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, and some gold. They are oriented northwest–southeast, and are 3– 50 cm thick.

Leached Zone
Mineralization consists of iron oxides that are common in all leached rock types but occur with the greatest intensity in the gneiss. The most common minerals are hematite, magnetite and specularite with subordinate goethite and jarosite. There are traces of pitch limonite. Within the intrusive rocks, the leached zone is very thin to non-existent. Common minerals include sparse disseminated and fracture-filling goethite and jarosite, traces of hematite and pitch limonite. Specularite occurs in veinlets, and as cavity and fracture fill. The veinlets can approach a weak stockwork.

Oxide Zone
The oxide mineral assemblage is mainly chrysocolla with minor neotocite and malachite at depth. Gneiss is the dominant oxide host. Copper oxides are more common in zones of greater fracturing and along the gneiss–intrusive contact. Specularite in veinlets and as cavity fill is associated with this zone. Minor amounts of hematite and magnetite occur. Quartz veins with gold and copper values occur within this zone. These veins cut through part of the deposit and host minor amounts of green copper oxides restricted to their (very local) environment.

Primary Zone
The hypogene zone includes disseminations and veinlets of pyrite and chalcopyrite with quartz. Traces of molybdenite occur with higher concentrations of chalcopyrite. Some chalcocite developed at the top of the primary zone and is evidence of an incipient enrichment process; however, there is no significant supergene enrichment. Molybdenite occurs in areas of higher chalcopyrite concentration.



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Copper Cathode kt 1,809
Copper Payable metal kt 1,809

Operational metrics

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* According to 2021 study.

Production Costs

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* According to 2021 study / presentation.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t mined) USD 1.43 *  
Processing costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
G&A ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2021 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
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OP OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M USD 2,474
Transportation (haulage) costs $M USD 133.2
G&A costs $M USD 264.7
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After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
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Required Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 22, 2024

...... Subscription required 2021


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