Mineralium Deposita (v.53, #6)

A revised oxygen barometry in sulfide-saturated magmas and application to the Permian magmatic Ni–Cu deposits in the southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt by Ya–Jing Mao; Ke–Zhang Qin; Stephen J. Barnes; Clément Ferraina; Giada Iacono–Marziano; Michael Verrall; Dongmei Tang; Shengchao Xue (731-755).
Oxygen fugacity is a key parameter in controlling the petrogenesis of mafic-ultramafic rocks and their associated sulfide mineralization, especially in convergent settings. This study uses new and previously published experimental data on olivine-sulfide pairs to reparameterize an expression for oxygen barometry using the distribution coefficient K D FeNi for Fe-Ni exchange between olivine and sulfide. We derive a new expression, ΔQFM = (9.775 + 0.416 ∙ C Ni − K D FeNi)/4.308, where ΔQFM denotes divergence from the fayalite–magnetite–quartz buffer. The revised oxygen barometry has been applied to the Permian magmatic Ni–Cu deposits in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt, NW China. The Ni–Cu deposits in the East Tianshan—North Tianshan, Central Tianshan, and Beishan—are considered as a single mineral system, whereas the spatially separated deposits in the East Junggar are considered as a separate system. The deposit of the East Tianshan group exhibits a large range of oxygen fugacity (QFM − 2 to ~QFM + 1) and Ni tenor (metal concentration in pure sulfide, ~ 5 to 16 wt%). The Poyi and Huangshannan deposits contain high-Ni tenor sulfides, varying from 12 to 16 wt%. The relatively high Fo values (> 85 mol%) and Ni contents (> 2000 ppm) in olivine of these deposits indicate that the high-Ni tenor sulfides were segregated from less differentiated high-Ni magmas that also had relatively high oxygen fugacity (~QFM + 1). The remaining Ni–Cu deposits in the East Tianshan—the Huangshandong, Huangshanxi, Hulu, Tulaergen, Tudun, and Xiangshanzhong deposits—have intermediate Ni tenors (5–8 wt%). These sulfides correspond to intermediate Fo values (80–84 mol%) and Ni contents (700–1400 ppm) in the coexisting olivine, illustrating that they were segregated from magmas with lower Ni contents thought to be the result of a large amount (15–20%) of olivine fractionation at depth. These magmas are more reduced (− 2 < ΔQFM < + 0.3) than the less evolved magmas (~QFM + 1). It is shown that the ΔQFM value calculated for the deposits in East Tianshan decreases with decreasing Fo value, indicating that the host magmas became gradually reduced during evolution, which can be explained by primarily oxidizing magma progressively assimilating crustal material containing reducing agents, such as carbon. The Kalatongke deposit in the East Junggar belt, with the lowest Ni tenors in sulfides (3–5 wt%) and low Fo values in olivine (< 78 mol%), was derived from relatively oxidizing magmas (~QFM + 1) that had experienced significant olivine plus clinopyroxene and plagioclase fractionation at depth. We propose that the variation in oxygen fugacity and Ni tenor in the Permian Ni–Cu deposits in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt is the result of gradual contamination and a variable degree of fractional crystallization.
Keywords: Magmatic sulfide deposit; Oxygen barometer; Sulfide-olivine Fe-Ni exchange; Nickel tenor; Central Asian Orogenic Belt

Pt-Os isotopic constraints on the age of hydrothermal overprinting on the Jinchuan Ni-Cu-PGE deposit, China by Shenghong Yang; Gang Yang; Wenjun Qu; Andao Du; Eero Hanski; Yann Lahaye; Jiangfeng Chen (757-774).
Platinum group element (PGE) mineralization occurs associated with mafic-ultramafic rocks in different environments. Although the PGE enrichment is primarily caused by magmatic processes, remobilization of Pd and Pt by hydrothermal fluids has likely been an important mechanism in increasing the precious metal grade in many cases. However, the timing of PGE enrichment by hydrothermal fluid processes is commonly difficult to constrain. The Jinchuan ultramafic intrusion in Northwest China is ranked the world’s third largest magmatic Ni-Cu sulfide deposit. Besides the main ore body consisting of net-textured and disseminated sulfides, there is hydrothermal mineralization associated with sheared contact zones of the intrusion, which shows elevated Cu and Pt concentrations. The unusually high Pt is hosted mainly in sperrylite within altered silicates. In this study, we applied the Pt-Os geochronometer to a Cu-Pt-rich ore body, yielding an isochron age of 436 ± 23 Ma. This age is significantly younger than the main ore formation age of ca. 825 Ma, but similar to that of the continental collision event between the Qaidam-Qilian Block and Alax Block of North China. This indicates that the intrusion may have been uplifted during the Paleozoic orogenic processes from deeper crust, resulting in the generation of the Cu-Pt-rich hydrothermal ore body. Our new data provide the first strong age constraints on the hydrothermal PGE enrichment, showing that the Pt-Os isotope system is potentially a powerful tool for dating hydrothermal overprinting on Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits.
Keywords: Pt-Os dating; Jinchuan; Ni-Cu-PGE deposit; Hydrothermal overprinting; Orogenic uplift

A genetic model based on evapoconcentration for sediment-hosted exotic-Cu mineralization in arid environments: the case of the El Tesoro Central copper deposit, Atacama Desert, Chile by A. Fernández-Mort; R. Riquelme; A. M. Alonso-Zarza; E. Campos; T. Bissig; C. Mpodozis; S. Carretier; C. Herrera; M. Tapia; H. Pizarro; S. Muñoz (775-795).
Although the formation of exotic-Cu deposits is controlled by multiple factors, the role of the sedimentary environment has not been well defined. We present a case study of the El Tesoro Central exotic-Cu deposit located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. This deposit consists of two mineralized bodies hosted within Late Cenozoic gravels deposited in an arid continental environment dominated by alluvial fans with sub-surficial ponded water bodies formed at the foot of these fans or within the interfan areas. Both exotic-Cu orebodies mostly consist of chrysocolla, copper wad, atacamite, paratacamite, quartz, opal, and calcite. The most commonly observed paragenesis comprises chrysocolla, silica minerals, and calcite and records a progressive increase in pH, which is notably influenced by evaporation. The results of stable isotope analyses (δ13C and δ18O) and hydrogeochemical simulations confirm that evapoconcentration is the main controlling factor in the exotic-Cu mineralization at El Tesoro Central. This conclusion complements the traditional genetic model based on the gradual neutralization of highly oversaturated Cu-bearing solutions that progressively cement the gravels and underlying bedrock regardless of the depositional environment. This study concludes that in exotic-Cu deposits formed relatively far from the source, a favorable sedimentary environment and particular hydrologic and climatic conditions are essential to trap, accumulate, evapoconcentrate, neutralize and saturate Cu-bearing solutions to trigger mineralization. Thus, detailed sedimentological studies should be incorporated when devising exploration strategies in order to discover new exotic-Cu resources, particularly if they are expected to have formed relatively far from the metal sources.
Keywords: Exotic-Cu deposit; Atacama Desert; Chrysocolla; Sediment-hosted ore deposit; Supergene mineralization; Stable isotopes

The Lianhuashan deposit has long been regarded as a typical tungsten porphyry deposit, located in the eastern Guangdong Province, in the Southeastern Coastal Metallogenic Belt (SCMB). LA–MC–ICP–MS zircon U–Pb dating of the quartz porphyry yielded a weighted mean 206Pb/238U age of 137.3 ± 2.0 Ma, which is interpreted as the emplacement age of the quartz porphyry. Hydrothermal muscovite yielded a plateau 40Ar/39Ar age of 133.2 ± 0.9 Ma, which is consistent with the zircon U–Pb age, suggesting that the tungsten mineralization is genetically related to the quartz porphyry. Combined with previous studies, we suggest that there is a 145–135 Ma episode linking the granitic magmas with W–Sn ore systems in the SCMB. Zircon εHf (t) values of the quartz porphyry are in range of − 3.8 to 0.9, and the two-stage Hf model ages (TDM2) are 1.1–1.4 Ga, which is younger than the basement rocks in the Cathaysia Block (1.8–2.2 Ga), signifying that the quartz porphyry was predominantly derived from melting of Mesoproterozoic crust containing variable amounts of mantle components. In combination with the newly recognized coeval alkaline/bimodal magmatism and A-type granites in eastern Guangdong, we suggest that the 145–135 Ma W–Sn metallogenic event of the SCMB is related to a geodynamic setting of large-scale lithospheric extension and thinning, which can be ascribed to melting of the crust caused by mantle upwelling, triggered by the oblique subduction of the Izanagi plate.
Keywords: Zircon U–Pb; Muscovite Ar–Ar; Lianhuashan; Porphyry tungsten deposit; Southeastern Coastal Metallogenic Belt

Porphyry-epithermal and orogenic gold are two of the most important styles of gold-bearing mineralization within orogenic belts. Populations of detrital gold resulting from bulk erosion of such regions may exhibit a compositional continuum wherein Ag, Cu, and Hg in the gold alloy may vary across the full range exhibited by natural gold. This paper describes a new methodology whereby orogenic and porphyry-epithermal gold may be distinguished according to the mineralogy of microscopic inclusions observed within detrital gold particles. A total of 1459 gold grains from hypogene, eluvial, and placer environments around calc-alkaline porphyry deposits in Yukon (Nucleus-Revenue, Casino, Sonora Gulch, and Cyprus-Klaza) have been characterized in terms of their alloy compositions (Au, Ag, Cu, and Hg) and their inclusion mineralogy. Despite differences in the evolution of the different magmatic hydrothermal systems, the gold exhibits a clear Bi-Pb-Te-S mineralogy in the inclusion suite, a signature which is either extremely weak or (most commonly) absent in both Yukon orogenic gold and gold from orogenic settings worldwide. Generic systematic compositional changes in ore mineralogy previously identified across the porphyry-epithermal transition have been identified in the corresponding inclusion suites observed in samples from Yukon. However, the Bi-Te association repeatedly observed in gold from the porphyry mineralization persists into the epithermal environment. Ranges of P-T-X conditions are replicated in the geological environments which define generic styles of mineralization. These parameters influence both gold alloy composition and ore mineralogy, of which inclusion suites are a manifestation. Consequently, we propose that this methodology approach can underpin a widely applicable indicator methodology based on detrital gold.
Keywords: Gold; Indicator mineral; Microchemical characterization; Porphyry systems

3D implicit modeling of the Sishen Mine: new resolution of the geometry and origin of Fe mineralization by B. Stoch; C. J. Anthonissen; M-J. McCall; I. J. Basson; J. Deacon; E. Cloete; J. Botha; J. Britz; M. Strydom; D. Nel; M. Bester (835-853).
The Sishen deposit is one of the largest iron ore concentrations in current production. Hematite mineralization occurs along a strike length of 14 km, with a width of 3.2 km and a maximum vertical extent of 400 m below the original surface. The 986-Mt reserve incorporates a suite of individual orebodies, beneath a locally preserved tectonized unconformity, with a wide range of geometries, depths, and orientations. Fully constrained, implicit 3D modeling of the entire mining volume (> 70 km3), was undertaken to the original, pre-mining topography. The model incorporates 5287 mapping points and > 21,000 drillholes and provides exceptional insight into the original configuration of ore and its relationship to contacts, unconformities, and structures in the enclosing country rock. The bulk of ore occurs to the west of a strike-extensive, partially inverted normal fault (Sloep Fault), within an asymmetrical synclinal structure on its western flank. This linear, N-S distribution of deep, thick ore is punctuated by palaeosinkholes, wherein base-of-ore dips of greater than 45°, are concentrically arranged. Localized ore volumes also occur along faults and in fault-bounded, downthrown blocks, to the north of NW-SE- and NE-SW-trending strike-slip faults that show relatively minor uplift to the south, probably due to the Lomanian Namaqua-Natal Orogeny. The revised model demonstrates the proximity of ore to a tectonized unconformity and highlights the structural control on ore volumes, implying that Fe mineralization at Sishen cannot be exclusively attributed to supergene enrichment and concentric palaeosinkhole formation.
Keywords: Iron ore; Structural interpretation; Implicit modeling; Leapfrog™

The Weibao copper–lead–zinc skarn deposit is located in the northern East Kunlun terrane, NW China. Igneous intrusions in this deposit consist of barren diorite porphyry (U–Pb zircon age of 232.0 ± 2.0 Ma) and ore-bearing quartz diorite and pyroxene diorite (U–Pb zircon ages of 223.3 ± 1.5 and 224.6 ± 2.9 Ma, respectively). Whole-rock major and trace element and accessory mineral (zircon and apatite) composition from these intrusions are studied to examine the different geochemical characteristics of ore-bearing and barren intrusions. Compared to the barren diorite porphyry, the ore-bearing intrusions have higher Ce4+/Ce3+ ratios of zircon and lower Mn contents of apatite, indicating higher oxidation state. Besides, apatite from the ore-bearing intrusions shows higher Cl contents and lower F/Cl ratios. These characteristics collectively suggest the higher productivity of ore-bearing quartz diorite and pyroxene diorite. When compared with ore-bearing intrusions from global porphyry Cu deposits, those from Cu–Pb–Zn skarn deposits display lower Ce4+/Ce3+ and EuN/EuN* ratios of zircon and lower Cl and higher F/Cl ratios of apatite. We conclude that these differences reflect a general geochemical feature, and that zircon and apatite composition is a sensitive tool to infer economic potential of magmas and the resulting mineralization types in intrusion-related exploration targets.
Keywords: Ce4+/Ce3 + ; Zircon; Apatite; Skarn deposits; Porphyry deposits; East Kunlun

Quantitative laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) element distribution maps combined with traverse mode analyses have been acquired on various sulfides (pyrite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite) from three Canadian Algoma-type BIF-hosted gold deposits (~ 4 Moz Au Meadowbank, ≥ 2.8 Moz Au Meliadine district, ~ 6 Moz Au Musselwhite). These data, in conjunction with detailed petrographic and SEM-EDS observations, provide insight into the nature and relative timing of gold events, the presence and implication of trace element zoning regarding crystallization processes, and elemental associations that fingerprint gold events. Furthermore, the use of an innovative method of processing the LA-ICP-MS data in map and traverse modes, whereby the results are fragmented into time-slice data, to generate various binary plots (Ag versus Ni) provides a means to identify elemental associations (Te, Bi) not otherwise apparent. This integrated means of treating geochemical data, along with petrography, allows multiple gold events and remobilization processes to be recognized and their elemental associations determined. The main gold event in each of these deposits is characterized by the coupling of an As-Se-Te-Ag element association coincident with intense stratabound sulfide-replacement of the Fe-rich host rock. Additionally, the data indicate presence of a later remobilization event, which upgraded the Au tenor, as either non-refractory or refractory type, along fracture networks due to the ingress of subsequent base metal-bearing metamorphic fluids (mainly a Pb-Bi association). Furthermore, the data reveal a stratigraphic influence, as reflected in the elemental associations and the elemental enrichments observed and the nature of the sulfide phase hosting the gold mineralization (arsenopyrite versus pyrite).
Keywords: Banded iron formation; Gold; Elemental association; Geochemistry; in-situ LA-ICP-MS