Vale’s Tres Valles copper complex in Chile has completed the first shipment of its copper cathodes output.

Mine operations manager Carlos Roa said the first export, amounting to 94t of copper cathodes, was sent to Brazil from San Antonio Port in central region V.

Located in central-northern region IV, Tres Valles began operations in December 2010 and processes ore extracted from the Papomono underground mine, according to BNamricas.

Tres Valles includes the Don Gabriel open pit, where pre-stripping is set to begin by mid-2011, and a heap leaching SX-EW plant capable of turning out 18,500t/y of copper cathodes.

The firm plans to feed the processing plant with ore containing an average grade of 1.5%.

Full production is expected to be reached by mid 2012, once operations begin at Don Gabriel.