2022 ◽  
Vol 117 (2) ◽  
pp. 485-494
Tobias U. Schlegel ◽  
Renee Birchall ◽  
Tina D. Shelton ◽  
James R. Austin

Abstract Iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits form in spatial and genetic relation to hydrothermal iron oxide-alkali-calcic-hydrolytic alteration and thus show a mappable zonation of mineral assemblages toward the orebody. The mineral zonation of a breccia matrix-hosted orebody is efficiently mapped by regularly spaced samples analyzed by the scanning electron microscopy-integrated mineral analyzer technique. The method results in quantitative estimates of the mineralogy and allows the reliable recognition of characteristic alteration as well as mineralization-related mineral assemblages from detailed mineral maps. The Ernest Henry deposit is located in the Cloncurry district of Queensland and is one of Australia’s significant IOCG deposits. It is known for its association of K-feldspar altered clasts with iron oxides and chalcopyrite in the breccia matrix. Our mineral mapping approach shows that the hydrothermal alteration resulted in a characteristic zonation of minerals radiating outward from the pipe-shaped orebody. The mineral zonation is the result of a sequence of sodic alteration followed by potassic alteration, brecciation, and, finally, by hydrolytic (acid) alteration. The hydrolytic alteration primarily affected the breccia matrix and was related to economic mineralization. Alteration halos of individual minerals such as pyrite and apatite extend dozens to hundreds of meters beyond the limits of the orebody into the host rocks. Likewise, the Fe-Mg ratio in hydrothermal chlorites changes systematically with respect to their distance from the orebody. Geochemical data obtained from portable X-ray fluorescence (p-XRF) and petrophysical data acquired from a magnetic susceptibility meter and a gamma-ray spectrometer support the mineralogical data and help to accurately identify mineral halos in rocks surrounding the ore zone. Specifically, the combination of mineralogical data with multielement data such as P, Mn, As, P, and U obtained from p-XRF and positive U anomalies from radiometric measurements has potential to direct an exploration program toward higher Cu-Au grades.

2020 ◽  
Vol 57 (1) ◽  
pp. 167-183
E.G. Potter ◽  
L. Corriveau ◽  
B.A. Kjarsgaard

The Paleoproterozoic East Arm Basin of Canada hosts polymetallic vein, iron oxide–apatite (IOA), and potential iron oxide–copper–gold (IOCG) mineral occurrences, mainly associated with a belt of ca. 1.87 Ga intermediate-composition sills termed the Compton intrusions. Advances in our knowledge of the East Arm Basin and of IOA and IOCG deposits within the broader context of iron oxide and alkali-calcic alteration systems enables a new regional analysis of this mineralization and facilitates comparison of these mineral occurrences and host rocks to the nearby Great Bear magmatic zone IOCG districts. The Compton intrusions and co-magmatic Pearson Formation volcanic rocks are comparable in age and composition to intrusive plus volcanic rocks of the Great Bear magmatic zone that host IOA–IOCG mineralization. Taking into account fault displacements, emplacement of Compton intrusions and Pearson Formation volcanic rocks are also consistent with the architecture of modern arcs, supporting a direct relationship with the Great Bear subduction zone. Trace element patterns of uraninite contained in IOA occurrences of the East Arm Basin are also similar to the patterns of uraninite from the Great Bear magmatic zone occurrences, consistent with both regions having experienced similar iron oxide and alkali-calcic alteration and mineralization. Our new results indicate that exploration for IOA, IOCG, and affiliated deposits in the East Arm Basin should focus on delineating increased potassic-iron alteration types and fault/breccia zones associated with these systems through field mapping and application of geochemical, radiometric, magnetic, and gravity surveys.

2017 ◽  
Vol 451 ◽  
pp. 90-103 ◽  
Nelson F. Bernal ◽  
Sarah A. Gleeson ◽  
Martin P. Smith ◽  
Jaime D. Barnes ◽  
Yuanming Pan

2013 ◽  
Vol 1 (1) ◽  
pp. T63-T84 ◽  
James R. Austin ◽  
Phillip W. Schmidt ◽  
Clive A. Foss

Magnetite-rich iron oxide copper-gold deposits (IOCGs) are geologically and geochemically complex and present major challenges to geophysical investigation. They often sit beneath significant cover, exhibit magnetic remanence, and suffer from self-demagnetization effects. Because remanence in magnetite-bearing drill core samples is commonly overprinted by drilling, in situ natural remanent magnetization is difficult to measure accurately, and thus IOCGs cannot be modeled definitively using geophysics alone. We examined structural controls on a magnetite-rich IOCG in northwest Queensland and the relationships between structure, alteration, Fe oxides, and mineralization at core to deposit scale. Magnetite within the deposit has a multidomain structure, and thus it would commonly have an in situ magnetization parallel to the earth’s field. In contrast, pyrrhotite has a pseudosingle-domain structure and so it is the predominant carrier of stable remanence within the ore system. Geophysical lineament analyses are used to determine structural controls on mineralization, geophysical filters (e.g., analytic signal amplitude) are used to help define structural extent of the deposit, and basement geochemistry is used to map mineral footprints beneath cover. These techniques identified coincident anomalies at the intersection of north and northwest lineaments. Leapfrog™ interpolations of downhole magnetic susceptibility and Cu, Au, and Fe assay data were used to map the distribution of magnetite, copper, gold, and sulfur in 3D. The analysis revealed that Cu and Au mineralization were coupled with the magnetite net-vein architecture, but that Cu was locally enriched in the east–northeast-trending demagnetized zone. The results from this suite of geophysical, petrophysical, and geochemical techniques were integrated to constrain modeling of the Brumby IOCG. Brumby can be described as a breccia pipe sitting at the intersection of north-striking, east-dipping, and northwest-striking, southeast-dipping structures that plunges moderately to the south–southeast. The breccia pipe was overprinted by a relatively late net-vein magnetite breccia and crosscut by a later, magnetite-destructive, east–northeast-striking fault.

Minerals ◽  
2018 ◽  
Vol 8 (11) ◽  
pp. 529 ◽  
Elías González ◽  
Shoji Kojima ◽  
Yoshihiko Ichii ◽  
Takayuki Tanaka ◽  
Yoshikazu Fujimoto ◽  

Silica-bearing magnetite was recognized in the Copiapó Nordeste prospect as the first documented occurrence in Chilean iron oxide–copper–gold (IOCG) deposits. The SiO2-rich magnetite termed silician magnetite occurs in early calcic to potassic alteration zones as orderly oscillatory layers in polyhedral magnetite and as isolated discrete grains, displaying perceptible optical differences in color and reflectance compared to normal magnetite. Micro-X-ray fluorescence and electron microprobe analyses reveal that silician magnetite has a significant SiO2 content with small amounts of other “impure” components, such as Al2O3, CaO, MgO, TiO2, and MnO. The oscillatory-zoned magnetite is generally enriched in SiO2 (up to 7.5 wt %) compared to the discrete grains. The formation of silician magnetite is explained by the exchange reactions between 2Fe (III) and Si (IV) + Fe (II), with the subordinate reactions between Fe (III) and Al (III) and between 2Fe (II) and Ca (II) + Mg (II). Silician magnetite with high concentrations of SiO2 (3.8–8.9 wt %) was similarly noted in intrusion-related magmatic–hydrothermal deposits including porphyry- and skarn-type deposits. This characteristic suggests that a hydrothermal system of relatively high-temperature and hypersaline fluids could be a substantial factor in the formation of silician magnetite with high SiO2 contents.

2020 ◽  
Vol 115 (7) ◽  
pp. 1443-1459 ◽  
Maria A. Rodriguez-Mustafa ◽  
Adam C. Simon ◽  
Irene del Real ◽  
John F.H. Thompson ◽  
Laura D. Bilenker ◽  

Abstract Iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) and iron oxide-apatite (IOA) deposits are major sources of Fe, Cu, and Au. Magnetite is the modally dominant and commodity mineral in IOA deposits, whereas magnetite and hematite are predominant in IOCG deposits, with copper sulfides being the primary commodity minerals. It is generally accepted that IOCG deposits formed by hydrothermal processes, but there is a lack of consensus for the source of the ore fluid(s). There are multiple competing hypotheses for the formation of IOA deposits, with models that range from purely magmatic to purely hydrothermal. In the Chilean iron belt, the spatial and temporal association of IOCG and IOA deposits has led to the hypothesis that IOA and IOCG deposits are genetically connected, where S-Cu-Au–poor magnetite-dominated IOA deposits represent the stratigraphically deeper levels of S-Cu-Au–rich magnetite- and hematite-dominated IOCG deposits. Here we report minor element and Fe and O stable isotope abundances for magnetite and H stable isotope abundances for actinolite from the Candelaria IOCG deposit and Quince IOA prospect in the Chilean iron belt. Backscattered electron imaging reveals textures of igneous and magmatic-hydrothermal affinities and the exsolution of Mn-rich ilmenite from magnetite in Quince and deep levels of Candelaria (>500 m below the bottom of the open pit). Trace element concentrations in magnetite systematically increase with depth in both deposits and decrease from core to rim within magnetite grains in shallow samples from Candelaria. These results are consistent with a cooling trend for magnetite growth from deep to shallow levels in both systems. Iron isotope compositions of magnetite range from δ56Fe values of 0.11 ± 0.07 to 0.16 ± 0.05‰ for Quince and between 0.16 ± 0.03 and 0.42 ± 0.04‰ for Candelaria. Oxygen isotope compositions of magnetite range from δ18O values of 2.65 ± 0.07 to 3.33 ± 0.07‰ for Quince and between 1.16 ± 0.07 and 7.80 ± 0.07‰ for Candelaria. For cogenetic actinolite, δD values range from –41.7 ± 2.10 to –39.0 ± 2.10‰ for Quince and from –93.9 ± 2.10 to –54.0 ± 2.10‰ for Candelaria, and δ18O values range between 5.89 ± 0.23 and 6.02 ± 0.23‰ for Quince and between 7.50 ± 0.23 and 7.69 ± 0.23‰ for Candelaria. The paired Fe and O isotope compositions of magnetite and the H isotope signature of actinolite fingerprint a magmatic source reservoir for ore fluids at Candelaria and Quince. Temperature estimates from O isotope thermometry and Fe# of actinolite (Fe# = [molar Fe]/([molar Fe] + [molar Mg])) are consistent with high-temperature mineralization (600°–860°C). The reintegrated composition of primary Ti-rich magnetite is consistent with igneous magnetite and supports magmatic conditions for the formation of magnetite in the Quince prospect and the deep portion of the Candelaria deposit. The trace element variations and zonation in magnetite from shallower levels of Candelaria are consistent with magnetite growth from a cooling magmatic-hydrothermal fluid. The combined chemical and textural data are consistent with a combined igneous and magmatic-hydrothermal origin for Quince and Candelaria, where the deeper portion of Candelaria corresponds to a transitional phase between the shallower IOCG deposit and a deeper IOA system analogous to the Quince IOA prospect, providing evidence for a continuum between both deposit types.

2020 ◽  
Carlos E Ganade ◽  
William L. Griffin ◽  
Roberto F. Weinberg ◽  
Elena Belousova ◽  
Lynthener B. Takenaka ◽  

Abstract Geological evidence supports a significant change in Earth’s behaviour in the mid- to late Archaean, between 3.2 and 2.5 Ga, reflecting stabilization of the lithosphere and replacement of vertical tectonics by linear imbricated belts. At the heart of this change, the oldest (c. 2.75 Ga) Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold deposits (IOCG) were formed in the Carajás Mineral Province (CMP) of the Amazon craton. U-Pb ages, Lu-Hf isotopes and trace element composition of detrital zircons from modern drainages record the crystallization ages of the exposed rocks of the CMP. Combined with the geochemistry of Archean granitoids in the CMP, we recognize four different age and compositional groups: 3.01-2.92 Ga TTG, 2.87-2.83 Ga transitional TTG + sanukitoid + K-rich granitoids, 2.78-2.72 Ga A-type crustal granites accompanying IOCGs, and 2.59-2.53 Ga alkaline high-K intrusions accompanied by renewed IOCG mineralization. The first two groups have a dominantly juvenile isotopic signature whereas the last two have evolved Hf-isotope signatures, accompanied by increase in K2O/Na2O, reflecting addition of old crustal components in the melting sources over time. The older juvenile granitoids are associated with dome-and-keel structures typical of granite-greenstone terranes, whereas the younger granitoids were emplaced along a linear shear belt associated with new mafic-ultramafic intrusions and remelting of older TTG. Based on the tectono-magmatic evolution, we argue that metasomatism and fertilization of the underlying lithospheric mantle by incompatible elements, necessary for the development of IOCG deposits, were related to vertical drip-tectonics during development of the TTG proto-continent. This proto-continent made the lithosphere rigid enough to allow linear translithospheric deformation to localize at c. 2.85 Ga, allowing decompression melting of the metasomatized lithospheric mantle in a restricted extensional setting to form abundant mafic and A-type granitoids at c. 2.75 Ga, and the first IOCG deposits on Earth.

2020 ◽  
Vol 115 (7) ◽  
pp. 1493-1518
I. del Real ◽  
J.F.H. Thompson ◽  
A. C. Simon ◽  
M. Reich

Abstract Pyrite is ubiquitous in the world-class iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits of the Candelaria-Punta del Cobre district, documented from early to late stages of mineralization and observed in deep and shallow levels of mineralized bodies. Despite its abundance, the chemical and isotopic signature of pyrite from the Candelaria-Punta del Cobre district, and most IOCG deposits worldwide, remains poorly understood. We evaluated in situ chemical and isotopic variations at the grain scale in a set of pyrite-bearing samples collected throughout the district in order to characterize and further understand the nature of mineralization in this IOCG system. Our multianalytical approach integrated synchrotron micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) mapping of pyrite grains with electron probe microanalysis and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry data, and sulfur isotope determinations using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) complemented with bulk sulfur isotope analyses of coeval pyrite, chalcopyrite, and anhydrite. Synchrotron μ-XRF elemental concentration maps of individual pyrite grains reveal a strong zonation of Co, Ni, As, and Se. The observed relationships between Ni and Se are interpreted to reflect changes in temperature and redox conditions during ore formation and provide constraints on fluid evolution. Co and Ni concentrations and ratios suggest contributions from magmas of mafic-intermediate composition. Pyrite chemical concentrations reflect potential stratigraphic controls, where the sample from the upper part of the stratigraphy diverges from trends formed by the rest of the sample set from lower stratigraphic levels. The SIMS δ34S values of pyrite (and chalcopyrite) range between –2 up to 10‰, and bulk δ34S values of pyrite range between 4 up to 12‰. The majority of the δ34S analyses, falling between –1 and 2‰, indicate a magmatic source for sulfur and, by inference, for the hydrothermal ore fluid(s). Variation in the δ34S signature can be explained by changes in the redox conditions, fluid sources, and/or the temperature of the hydrothermal fluid. The Se/S ratio combined with δ34S values in pyrite is consistent with mixing between a magmatic-hydrothermal fluid and a fluid with a probable basinal signature. The results of this study are consistent with the hydrothermal fluids responsible for mineralization in the Candelaria-Punta del Cobre district being predominantly of magmatic origin, plausibly from mafic-intermediate magmas based on the Ni-Co content in pyrite. External fluid incursion, potentially from a basinal sedimentary source, occurred late in the evolution of the system, adding additional reduced sulfur as pyrite. There is no evidence to suggest that the late fluid added significant Cu-Au mineralization, but this cannot be ruled out. Finally, the data reveal that trace element ratios coupled with spatially resolved sulfur isotope data in pyrite are powerful proxies to track the magmatic-hydrothermal evolution of IOCG systems and help constrain the source of their contained metals.

2019 ◽  
Vol 35 (1) ◽  
pp. 99-118
CHEN Wei ◽  
ZHAO XinFu ◽  
LI XiaoChun ◽  

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