Vale SA the Brazilian mining giant is now mining copper in Chile. It inaugurated the Tres Valles project on Thrusday, which will be Vale’s first copper project in the country. The Tres Valles project is expected to produce 18,500 metric tons of copper cathodes or large sheets of 99.99% pure copper.
The project which consists of an open pit mine, an underground mine and a cathode producing plant is costing Vale SA $140 million to develop. The annual output of the Tres Valles project will represent less than 0.4 % of copper produced in Chile in a year.
Vale produces copper as a by product at its nickel mines in Sudbury and Voisey Bay. It also produces copper concentrate in Sossego, Carajas in northern Brazil in the state of Para. The copper produced in Chile by Vale is likely to head out to markets in Brazil, North America and Asia.
The company hopes to boost its copper production by 45% by 2015. This would be a production of one million tonnes of copper. This is part of Vale’s strategy to diversify its business. Tito Martins the Executive Director for Base Metals at Vale said that copper, given current market trends appeared to be an extremely attractive investment.