Mining Intelligence and News

Tres Valles Complex

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Mine TypeOpen Pit & Underground
StatusCare and Maintenance
  • Copper
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
  • Front caving (FC)
  • Inclined block caving (IBC)
  • Sub-level caving
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotMinera Tres Valles (MTV) complex comprises two main deposits: Papomono (underground) and Don Gabriel (open pit).

There was no mining activity at the Don Gabriel open pit mine during the second quarter of 2022 and Papomono's block caving operations were put into care and maintenance in June 2022 and its contractor demobilized.
Related Asset


Vecchiola S.A 4.9 % Indirect
Three Valley Copper Corp. 95.1 % Indirect
On February 17, 2023, Three Valley Copper Corp. (“Company”) announced that Minera Tres Valles SpA (“MTV”), the Company’s 95.1% Chilean copper mining subsidiary, received from the Civil Courts of Santiago, the declaration of the bankruptcy liquidation. As part of this process, a liquidator has been appointed and immediately assumes full responsibility for the operations and management of MTV. The liquidator will carry out or exercise, as applicable, all acts, rights, and obligations of MTV and will be required to perform all acts necessary for the preservation of MTV’s rights against its debtors and creditors.



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Deposit type

  • Stratabound
  • Vein / narrow vein
  • Manto


Minera Tres Valles mining complex (MTV) is a Cu-Ag stratabound, manto-type deposit.

The MTV Project consists of two main deposit areas about 5km apart. The Don Gabriel area hosts the Don Gabriel Manto and Don Gabriel Vein deposits. The Papomono (“PPM”) area consists of seven known deposits: Massivo, Cumbre, Mantos Connection, PPM South, Mantos North, PPM North, and Epithermal.

The dominant sulphides in the deposit are in decreasing order: chalcocite-covelite (~85%), bornite (~6%), enargite (~5%) and chalcopyrite (~4%). It is important to mention that the bulk of the chalcocite at MTV is hypogene. Very few parts were observed with supergene chalcocite. In places where intense fracturing and faulting occurs, the action of oxidizing agents generates oxide copper minerals: chrysocolla, malachite, brochantite and atacamite. For this reason, the traditional vertical zonation of oxides on top and sulphides in deeper parts are not identified in Papomono and the main oxide zones are related to more fractured zones, sometimes deeper than preserved sulphides.

The most common deposit geometry is the manto-type (stratiform). The individual “mantos” have a thickness that ranges from 2 to 50m, up to 500m strike extension and length along dip reaching 600m. Examples of this type of deposit geometry are the PPM South, Mantos Connection, and the Mantos North deposit. The other common geometry is vein-type, with a thickness between 2 and 15m, strike length from 100 to 420m and 100 to 250m deep. Dip angle is generally steep, between 80° and 90° to the west. There are also sets of tens of cm-thick N-S veins dipping 55° to the east. These sets of veins occur in clusters of 10 to 30 narrow, around 50m long, massive chalcocite veins.

One specific and important geometry is observed in only one deposit, PPM Massivo. It is a complex geometry which resulted from the intersection of at least three different mineralization controls in the same area: the Papomono Fault system, the favorable strata (mantos) and the N-S set of small veins dipping east. The resulting geometry is roughly an inverse triangle or a truncated rhomb shape, which has 440m strike, up to 190m wide and 190m high.

Finally, there is a cylinder-shape geometry related to the intrusive plug of Cumbre. This deposit is vertical, with at least 400m deep (310m from the bottom of exploited Cumbre pit) and an average diameter of 180m. A near surface oxide mineralized zone was hosted in the upper part of intrusive as well in the contact zones with volcanic to volcanoclastic rocks of the Quebrada Marquesa Formation and was already exploited by open pit. Deeper zones in Cumbre present disseminated chalcocite and bornite mineralization.

Don Gabriel
The mineral deposit of Don Gabriel is formed of two main zones:
- An upper deposit of “manto” type, medium copper grade, with a set of stratabound disseminated, fine chalcocite, mineralization approximately 100m thick, dipping 30° SSW.
- A lower deposit, vein-shaped (straight-tabular), sub-vertically oriented N45°W, with intense strong to spotty mineralization or veinlets type (stockwork or sheeted veinlets), high copper grade, with chalcocite, digenite and some bornite.

Whereas the first type is hosted mainly in andesite amygdaloidal levels, the second type has medium to coarse porphyritic andesite and/or dioritic to microdioritic dikes as host rock, which underlies the level of coarse sandstone. The layers of sandstone serve as a guide-level separating the two main units. It is used as a sharp limit between the two geological models, Don Gabriel Mantos and Don Gabriel Veins.

The vertical-tabular mineralization seems to be intimately linked to the presence of dioritic dikes, which, in turn, are related to an intrusive stock to the W and SW, and outcrops at the bottom of the ravine near the mineral deposit. Such stock was also intercepted by several drill holes a little further to the east. Those dikes found in such drill holes may also be observed in the mine’s roads cut, as a 2 to 10m-thick dike swarm, which follows the same N45-50°W direction of the mineralization.

Considering the clear relationship between the vein shape mineralization and such dikes, it is possible to speculate the presence of a metasomatic component in its genesis, despite no distinctive skarn mineral being observed, only epidote and chlorite. Another possibility is that the dioritic magma emplaced areas of structural weakness, also employed by the mineralizing fluids immediately after the igneous siting (tardi- magmatic event). In some areas, mineralization zones are also observed, with similar characteristics to the “mantos”, chalcocite disseminated mineralization with pervasive albite, which makes it possible to glimpse the potential presence of stratabound deposits, but not stratiforms, as a set of parallel veins restricted to favorable stratigraphic levels (e.g. mineral deposits El Soldado or El Espino). Another aspect worth mentioning is the common presence of veins or disseminated hematite surrounding the best mineral grade sectors.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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Supplemental ore was also contributed by third parties and ENAMI.
MTV has a tolling contract with ENAMI (a Chilean state-owned company).
Copper t  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe7,0555,3816,2785,4125,771
All production numbers are expressed as cathode. ^ Guidance / Forecast.

Operational metrics

Daily processing capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe7,000 t7,000 t5,400 t
Annual production capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe18,500 t of copper cathode18,500 t of copper cathode18,500 t of copper cathode
Stripping / waste ratio  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe
Waste  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe6,195,814 t1,695,516 t
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe1,210,321 t736,532 t
Total tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe
Tonnes processed  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe1,433,148 t968,490 t663,851 t436,677 t281,602 t

Production Costs

Cash costs Copper USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 2.66 / lb   2.37 / lb  
^ Guidance / Forecast.


Capital expenditures (planned) M USD  ....  Subscribe
Capital expenditures M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 14.1   6.6  
Revenue M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 35.7   32.7  
Gross profit M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe -13.4   -1.6  
After-tax Income M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe -31.9   -6.6  

Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 16, 2024
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....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 16, 2024
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EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2020
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2019

Aerial view:


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