Chile

Salvador Mine

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Overview

Mine TypeOpen Pit & Underground
StatusActive
Commodities
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Sulphuric acid
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
  • Block caving
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe Salvador division consists of open pit mine, underground mine, leach plant, concentrator plant, smelter, refinery and port.

On November 21, 2023, the first ore was extracted from the Rajo Inca project, which is more than 60% built.

Rajo Inca, which is aimed to extend the life of the mine by 40 years through the operation of a new open-pit deposit, will produce 75 ktf at regime and its ramp up phase will begin during the third quarter of 2024.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Codelco Corp. (operator) 100 % Indirect
Codelco Corp. develops business in seven mining divisions: Chuquicamata, Minister Hales, Radomiro Tomic, Gabriela Mistral, Salvador, Andina and El Teniente, in addition to the Ventanas Refinery.

The deposits and plants belong to the State of Chile, which grants company the power to exploit and manage them.

Deposit type

  • Porphyry

Summary:

The Salvador deposit is a typical medium-sized porphyry-type ore body. There is an 80- to 200-meter thick leached capping covering a lensoid-shaped enrichment layer roughly one kilometer in diameter that attains a maximum thickness of about 250 meters. This enrichment layer is almost completely mined out. Mining is currently focused on the primary ore located underneath the secondary enrichment (the so-called Inca levels).

The Eocene (42 to 41 Ma) El Salvador porphyry copper deposit in the Indio Muerto district, northern Chile (26° 15' S Lat.), formerly thought to have formed at the culmination of a 9-m.y. period of episodic magmatism, is shown by new mapping, U-Pb and K-Ar geochronology, and petrologic data to have formed during the younger of two distinct but superposed magmatic events—a Paleocene (~63 to 58 Ma) and an Eocene (44 to 41 Ma) event. In the district, high-K Paleocene volcano-plutonic activity was characterized by a variety of eruptive styles and magmatic compositions, including a collapse caldera associated with explosive rhyolitic magmatism (El Salvador trap-door caldera), a post-collapse rhyolite dome field (Cerro Indio Muerto), and andesitic-trachyandesitic stratovolcanos (Kilometro Catorce-Los Amarillos sequence).

Precaldera basement faults were reactivated during Paleocene volcanism as part of the collapse margin of the caldera. Beneath Cerro Indio Muerto, where the porphyry Cu deposit subsequently formed, the intersection of two major basement faults and the NNE-striking rotational axis of tilted ignimbrites of the Paleocene El Salvador caldera localized emplacement of post-collapse rhyolite domes and peripheral dikes and sills. Subsequent Eocene rhyolitic and granodioriticdacitic porphyries intruded ~1 4 m.y. after cessation of Paleocene magmatism along the same NNE-striking structural belt through Cerro Indio Muerto as did the post-collapse Paleocene rhyolite domes.

Eocene plutonism over a 3-m.y. period was contemporaneous with NWSE-directed shortening associated with regional sinistral transpression along the Sierra Castillo fault, lying ~10 km to the east. Older Eocene rhyolitic porphyries in the Indio Muerto district were emplaced between 44 and 43 Ma, and have a small uneconomic Cu center associated with a porphyry at Old Camp. The oldest granodioritic-dacitic porphyries also were emplaced at ~44 to 43 Ma, but their petrogenetic relation to the rhyolitic porphyries and younger granodioriticdacitic porphyries in the district is unclear.

The main porphyry Cu-Mo-related granodioriticdacitic stocks in Quebrada Turquesa on Cerro Indio Muerto intruded, cooled, and were mineralized within ~ 1 m.y. between 42 and 41 Ma. Volumetrically minor late- to post-mineral porphyries are slightly more mafic than earlier granodioritic-dacitic porphyries, a compositional trend possibly repeated on several scales and more than once over the 3-million-year Eocene magmatic history of the Indio Muerto district. This compositional trend requires either addition of basaltic material into an open-system silicic magma chamber or tapping of progressively deeper levels of a vertically zoned magma chamber.

Eocene porphyry magmas were more hydrous and their residual source mineralogy richer in garnet than the relatively anhydrous Paleocene rocks, whose source was rich in pyroxene. The presence of inherited zircons in Paleocene and Eocene rocks requires interaction with crustal rocks of Paleozoic and/ or Proterozoic age. Paleocene and Eocene igneous rocks in the Indio Muerto district were emplaced during distinct magmatic-tectonic events that are unrelated, although spatially associated. The districtscale Paleocene and Eocene eruptive styles and geochemical and mineralogic characteristics mimic characteristics of similar-aged igneous rocks throughout northern Chile (20°30' S Lat. to 27° S Lat.), attesting to the regional nature of the Paleocene and Eocene events.

Porphyry Cu mineralization in the district furthermore is associated not only with an Eocene granodioriticdacitic (42 to 41 Ma) complex, but also with one of an older Eocene (44 to 43 Ma) rhyolitic porphyry, implying that a long period of precursor magmatism is not required for generation of the El Salvador porphyry Cu-Mo deposit. Rather, the episodic magmatism preceding porphyry Cu mineralization reflects repeated structural localization through time of superimposed highlevel volcano-plutonic complexes in an active magmatic arc.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.

Processing

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Production

CommodityProductUnits202320222021202020192018201720162015
Copper Cathode t  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe50,56160,84061,94259,79648,582
Silver Metal kg  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe23,24435,49753,02862,04437,997
Gold Metal kg  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe384354621765596
Sulphuric acid t  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe255,337402,769318,699461,909311,566

Operational metrics

Metrics202220212020201920182017
Daily processing capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe10,362 kdmt12,892 kdmt14,513 kdmt

Production Costs

CommodityUnits20212020201920182017
C1 cash costs Copper USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 2.33 / lb   2.24 / lb   1.99 / lb  

Financials

Units2023202220212020201920182017
Revenue M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 424.4   503.1   727.8  
Gross profit M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 12.3   -10.1   112.8  
Pre-tax Income M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe -116.1   -183.2   -30.6  
After-tax Income M USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe -40   -54.3   -6.9  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.

Personnel

Mine Management

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Aerial view:

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