A group of 15 individuals from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, located in the United States, visited the Tres Valles mining project facilities near Salamanca on Tuesday, March 13th.

The students witnessed firsthand the production process that ultimately leads to high grade copper cathodes at the same time observing the sustainability policies regarding the surrounding communities and environment that the company strongly implements.

During the day, the students toured the crushing plant, leaching pads, electrowinning plant and the Don Gabriel open-pit mine, all of which form essential stages of the Tres Valles production process.

The activity ended with a typical meal in the Chilean countryside that was organized by members of the Agricultural Community of Chalinga. This gave the community members an opportunity to share the types of collaborative experiences they have had with the mining company, especially in regard to the strong channels of communication that the Community and Tres Valles have worked together to form. They highlighted their joint achievements of creating the Raja de Manquehua Nature Sanctuary, giving free exploitation points to local small-scale miners, financing social initiatives via the Tres Valles Foundation, and mentioning the detailed attention given toward conflict resolution.

Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, Gendell Associate Professor of Energy Systems and Public Policy at Duke University, said that “this tour gave us the opportunity to know how Minera Tres Valles organizes its operation through its three pillars, the community, the environment and safety, complementing the entire copper producing process. This has been a huge educational experience for my students and I, as they have been able to learn about both economic and social development as well as environmental sustainability; they have learned a lot from Latin America.”

As for Sebastián Cortés Bustos, Sustainability Manager at Minera Tres Valles, this was a “very rewarding activity because they got to visit our operation, plant and mine, as well as witness our committed work in sustainability and how Minera Tres Valles is inserted in the territory. There is no recipe for creating a sustainable environment with strong community relations; it is a learning process that must focus on each project’s unique features. Through these visits, we obtain an external, technical and professional look that helps us pave the way in ensuring that our work is going in the right direction.

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