Critical elements in non-sulfide Zn deposits: a reanalysis of the Kabwe Zn-Pb ores (central Zambia)

Mondillo, N., Herrington, R., Boyce, A.J. , Wilkinson, C., Santoro, L. and Rumsey, M. (2018) Critical elements in non-sulfide Zn deposits: a reanalysis of the Kabwe Zn-Pb ores (central Zambia). Mineralogical Magazine, 82(S1), S89-S114. (doi: 10.1180/minmag.2017.081.038)

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The Kabwe Zn-Pb deposit (central Zambia) consists of a cluster of mixed sulfide and non-sulfide orebodies. The sulfide ores comprise sphalerite, galena, pyrite, chalcopyrite and accessory Ge-sulfides (±Ga and In). The non-sulfide ores comprise: (1) willemite-dominated zones encasing massive sulfide orebodies and (2) oxide-dominated alteration bands, overlying both the sulfide and Zn-silicate orebodies. This study focuses on the Ge, In and Ga distribution in the non-sulfide mineralization, and was carried out on a suite of Kabwe specimens, housed in the Natural History Museum Ore Collection (London). Petrography confirmed that the original sulfides were overprinted by at least two contrasting oxidation stages dominated by the formation of willemite (W1 and W2), and a further event characterized by weathering-related processes. Oxygen isotopic analyses have shown that W1 and W2 are unrelated genetically and furthermore not related to supergene Zn-Pb-carbonates in the oxide-dominated assemblage. The δ18O composition of 13.9–15.7‰ V-SMOW strongly supports a hydrothermal origin for W1. The δ18O composition of W2 (−3.5‰ to 0‰ V-SMOW) indicates that it precipitated from groundwaters of meteoric origin in either a supergene or a low-T hydrothermal environment. Gallium and Ge show a diversity of distribution among the range of Zn-bearing minerals. Gallium has been detected at the ppm level in W1, sphalerite, goethite and hematite. Germanium occurs at ppm levels in W1 and W2, and in scarcely detectable amounts in hemimorphite, goethite and hematite. Indium has low concentrations in goethite and hematite. These different deportments among the various phases are probably due to the different initial Ga, In and Ge abundances in the mineralization, to the different solubilities of the three elements at different temperatures and pH values, and finally to their variable affinities with the various minerals formed.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, in the form of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (Project Number 660885) awarded to R. Herrington, supporting the fellowship of N. Mondillo.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boyce, Professor Adrian
Authors: Mondillo, N., Herrington, R., Boyce, A.J., Wilkinson, C., Santoro, L., and Rumsey, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Mineralogical Magazine
Publisher:Mineralogical Society
ISSN (Online):1471-8022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Mineralogical Society
First Published:First published in Mineralogical Magazine 82(S1):S89-S114
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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