Indicator Minerals, Vectoring and Fertility Tools for the Exploration of Porphyry Cu (Mo ± Au) Systems

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Exploration Methods and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 2235

Special Issue Editors

Institute of Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
Interests: metallogeny; exploration; porphyry copper system; economic geology

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Guest Editor
College of Earth Science, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610225, China
Interests: porphyry deposits; geochemistry; petrology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Institute of Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
Interests: economic geology; regional geological survey; porphyry copper deposits

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610032, China
Interests: magmatic-hydrothermal mineralization; resource exploration and evaluation; tectono-magmatic evolution of the CAOB and Tethys

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Guest Editor
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., East Perth, WA 6004, Australia
Interests: economic geology; geochemistry; plate tectonic reconstruction; orogenic gold deposits; porphyry copper deposits

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As one of most important deposit types, porphyry Cu systems are defined as large volumes of hydrothermally altered rock centered on porphyry that may also contain skarn, carbonate-replacement, sediment-hosted, and high- and intermediate-sulfidation epithermal base and precious metal mineralization. It supplies nearly 75% of the world’s Cu, 50% the Mo, perhaps 25% of the Au, most of the Re, and minor amounts of other metals (Ag, Pd, Te, Se, Bi, Zn, and Pb).

In the past several decades, China has invested heavily in the geologic surveying and mineral exploration of porphyry copper systems. These efforts have resulted in the discovery of numerous important porphyry Cu (Mo±Au) deposits (Qulong, Jiama, Xiongcun, Duolong, Tuwu, Pulang etc.). Moreover, many significant research efforts have been devoted to new technology (LA-ICP-MS, SIMS, SHRIMP, SWIR spectrometry etc.) or methods (indicator minerals, vectoring tools) to assist the exploration of porphyry Cu systems.

These activities has been divided into two projects: (1) indicator minerals (IMs), which aims to identify the presence of, or potential for, porphyry-style mineralization based on the chemistry of magmatic or hydrothermal minerals such as plagioclase, zircon and apatite, magnetite, biotite, scheelite etc. and (2) vectoring and fertility tools (VFTs), which use  the chemical compositions of hydrothermal minerals such as epidote, chlorite and alunite, as well as garnet to predict the likely direction and distance to mineralized centers in porphyry copper systems.

This Special Issue is organized into three sections:

  • Section 1 Metallogeny of porphyry Cu (Mo±Au) deposits: Geology, geochronology, and mechanism for Cu (Mo±Au) deposits in different tectonic settings or metallogenic belts.
  • Section 2 Indicator minerals of porphyry Cu (Mo±Au) systems: Case studies of indicator minerals to reveal their implications for the fertility of ore-related porphyries and differences with barren porphyries.
  • Section 3 Vectoring and fertility tools of porphyry Cu (Mo±Au) systems: Case studies on the ore-related hydrothermal minerals to successfully identify the potential for exploration and location of high-grade economic ore-bodies.

This Special Issue aims to summarize the new advances in metallogeny and exploration for porphyry Cu (Mo±Au) systems in China and help to supply useful references for further green exploration.

Dr. Bin Lin
Prof. Dr. Xinghai Lang
Prof. Dr. Yang Song
Dr. Qiuming Pei
Dr. Chun-Kit Lai
Guest Editors

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  • indicator minerals 
  • vectoring tools 
  • fertility tools 
  • mineralogy 
  • LA-ICP-MS 
  • porphyry Cu system

Published Papers (1 paper)

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16 pages, 10276 KiB  
Biotite Geochemistry and Its Implication for the Difference in Mineralization in the Xiongcun Porphyry Cu–Au Ore District, Tibet
by Pan Tang, Juxing Tang, Xinghai Lang, Bin Lin, Fuwei Xie, Miao Sun, Faqiao Li, Jing Qi, Hao Cui, Mengdie Wang, Yan Xiong and Gang Tao
Minerals 2023, 13(7), 876; - 29 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1406
The Xiongcun Cu–Au ore district is in the southern middle Gangdese Metallogenic Belt, Tibet, and formed during Neo-Tethyan oceanic subduction. The Xiongcun ore district mainly comprises two deposits, the No. I and No. II deposits, which were formed by two individual mineralization events [...] Read more.
The Xiongcun Cu–Au ore district is in the southern middle Gangdese Metallogenic Belt, Tibet, and formed during Neo-Tethyan oceanic subduction. The Xiongcun ore district mainly comprises two deposits, the No. I and No. II deposits, which were formed by two individual mineralization events according to deposit geology and Re–Os isotopic dating of molybdenite. The No. I deposit is similar to a reduced porphyry copper–gold deposit, given the widespread occurrence of primary and/or hydrothermal pyrrhotite and common CH4-rich and rare N2-rich fluid inclusions. The No. II deposit, similar to classic oxidized porphyry copper–gold deposits, contains highly oxidized minerals, including magnetite, anhydrite, and hematite. The halogen chemistry of the ore-forming fluid from the No. I and No. II deposits is still unclear. Biotite geochemistry with halogen contents was used to investigate the differences in ore-forming fluid between the No. I and No. II deposits. Hydrothermal biotite from the No. I deposit, usually intergrown with sphalerite, is Mg-rich and classified as phlogopite and Mg-biotite, and hydrothermal biotite from the No. II deposit is classified as Mg-biotite. Hydrothermal biotite from the No. I deposit has significantly higher SiO2, MnO, MgO, F, Li, Sc, Zn, Rb, Tl, and Pb contents and lower Al2O3, FeOtot, Cl, Ba, Cr, V, Co, Ni, Y, Sr, Zr, Th, and Cu contents than the biotite from the No. II deposit. Hydrothermal biotites from the No. I and No. II deposits yield temperatures ranging from 230 °C to 593 °C and 212 °C to 306 °C, respectively. The calculated oxygen fugacity and fugacity ratios indicate that the hydrothermal fluid of the No. I deposit has a higher F content, oxygen fugacity, and log(fHF/fHCl) value and a lower log(fH2O/fHF) value than the hydrothermal fluid from the No. II deposit. The biotite geochemistry shows that the No. I and No. II deposits formed from different hydrothermal fluids. The hydrothermal fluid of the No. I deposit was mixed with meteoric waters containing organic matter, resulting in a decrease in oxygen fugacity and more efficient precipitation of gold. The No. I and No. II deposits were formed by a Cl-rich hydrothermal system conducive to transporting Cu and Au. The decreasing Cl, oxygen fugacity, and temperature may be the key factors in Cu and Au precipitation. Biotite geochemistry allows a more detailed evaluation of the halogen chemistry of hydrothermal fluids and their evolution within porphyry Cu systems. Full article
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