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Contrasting fluids and reservoirs in the contiguous Marcona and Mina Justa iron oxide-Cu (-Ag-Au) deposits, south-central PerA(0)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 12:06 authored by Chen, H, Kyser, TK, Clark, AH
TheMarcona¨CMina Justa deposit cluster, hosted by Lower Paleozoic metaclastic rocks and Middle Jurassic shallow marine andesites, incorporates the most important known magnetite mineralization in the Andes at Marcona (1.9 Gt at 55.4% Fe and 0.12% Cu) and one of the few major iron oxide¨Ccopper¨Cgold (IOCG) deposits with economic Cu grades (346.6 Mt at 0.71% Cu, 3.8 g/t Ag and 0.03 g/t Au) at Mina Justa. TheMiddle JurassicMarcona deposit is centred in Ica Department, Per¨², and the Lower Cretaceous Mina Justa Cu (Ag, Au) prospect is located 3¨C4 km to the northeast. New fluid inclusion studies, including laser ablation time-of-flight inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-TOFICPMS) analysis, integrated with sulphur, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon isotope analyses of minerals with well-defined paragenetic relationships, clarify the nature and origin of the hydrothermal fluid responsible for these contiguous but genetically contrasted deposits. At Marcona, early, sulphide-free stage M-III magnetite¨Cbiotite¨Ccalcic amphibole assemblages are inferred to have crystallized from a 700¨C 800¡ãC Fe oxide melt with a ¦Ä18O value from +5.2¡ë to +7.7¡ë. Stage M-IV magnetite¨Cphlogopite¨Ccalcic amphibole¨C sulphide assemblages were subsequently precipitated from 430¨C600¡ãC aqueous fluids with dominantly magmatic isotopic compositions (¦Ä34S=+0.8¡ë to +5.9¡ë; ¦Ä18O= +9.6¡ë to +12.2¡ë; ¦ÄD=−73¡ë to −43¡ë; and ¦Ä13C= −3.3¡ë). Stages M-III and M-IV account for over 95% of the magnetite mineralization at Marcona. Subsequent noneconomic, lower temperature sulphide¨Ccalcite¨Camphibole assemblages (stage M-V) were deposited from fluids with similar ¦Ä34S (+1.8¡ë to +5.0¡ë), ¦Ä18O (+10.1¡ë to +12.5¡ë) and ¦Ä13C (−3.4¡ë), but higher ¦ÄD values (average −8¡ë). Several groups of lower (<200¡ãC, with a mode at 120¡ãC) and higher temperature (>200¡ãC) fluids can be recognized in the main polymetallic (Cu, Zn, Pb) sulphide stage M-V and may record the involvement of modified seawater. At Mina Justa, early magnetite¨Cpyrite assemblages precipitated from a magmatic fluid (¦Ä34S=+0.8¡ë to +3.9¡ë; ¦Ä18O=+9.5¡ë to +11.5¡ë) at 540¨C600¡ãC, whereas ensuing chalcopyrite¨C bornite¨Cdigenite¨Cchalcocite¨Chematite¨Ccalcite mineralization was the product of non-magmatic, probably evaporitesourced, brines with ¦Ä34S¡Ý+29¡ë, ¦Ä18O=0.1¡ë and ¦Ä13C= −8.3¡ë. Two groups of fluids were involved in the Cu mineralization stage: (1) Ca-rich, low-temperature (approx. 140¡ãC) and high-salinity, plausibly a basinal brine and (2) Na (¨CK)-dominant with a low-temperature (approx. 140¡ãC) and low-salinity probably meteoric water. LA-TOF-ICPMS analyses show that fluids at the magnetite¨Cpyrite stage were Cu-barren, but that those associated with external fluids in later stages were enriched in Cu and Zn, suggesting such fluids could have been critical for the economic Cu mineralization in Andean IOCG deposits.


Publication title

Mineralium Deposita










School of Natural Sciences



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Copyright 2011 Springer-Verlag

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Socio-economic Objectives

Copper ore exploration

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