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Geology and mineralization of the Cu-rich Mumbwa district, a potential IOCG-type system at the eastern margin of the Pan-African Hook batholith, Zambia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 12:33 authored by Milani, L, Lehmann, J, Naydenov, KV, Saalmann, K, Nex, PAM, Kinnaird, JA, Friedman, IS, Woolrych, T, David SelleyDavid Selley

The Mumbwa mineralized district is located approximately 200 km west of Lusaka, at the north-eastern margin of the Pan-African granitic Hook batholith. Polymetallic sulphide occurrences in the area have been known for hundreds of years, but more recent geophysical and geochemical investigations led to the discovery of a copper-rich hydrothermal system, mostly associated with late-stage syenite intrusions of the Hook batholith. The extent of the hydrothermal system is not known, but to date two main centres have been identified, the Sugar Loaf and Mutoy

Sulphide mineralization occurs along regional-scale lineaments, following a 25 km-long NNW-trending corridor. Mineralized host rocks are characterized by brecciation, often pervasively replaced by magnetite-hematite, and by strong metasomatism with multiple - and often superimposed - alteration cycles, from potassic, to carbonate, sericite-chlorite and amphibole-apatite-carbonate. Sulphur isotopes suggest that a mixture of magmatic and sedimentary-derived evaporitic fluids were critical in providing sulphur and metals. Late syenitic intrusions triggered the relevant hydrothermal circulation and favoured the mineralization processes.

Diagrams plotting key element geochemistry and alteration indexes highlight vectors to alteration and mineralization and suggest that the sulphides preferably concentrated in rocks affected by hydrothermal iron oxides in association with sericite-chlorite alteration.

At the Kitumba prospect (in the Sugar Loaf mineralized centre), granitic to syenitic bodies host a hypogene copper mineralization (mostly chalcopyrite), that was subsequently overprinted by pervasive and deep supergene mineralization (malachite, chalcocite, chalcosiderite, cuprite, digenite, chrysocolla, bornite, native copper). Supergene mineralization has been identified in boreholes to depths exceeding 700 m. Reserves at Kitumba are estimated at 27.9 Mt with an average grade of 2.2% copper at a 1.0% copper cut-off grade. Gold is present, although generally at low grades.

In the Mutoya centre, metasedimentary rocks alternate with felsic intrusions. Two prospects have been identified, characterized by large areas of magnetite-hematite breccias hosting sulphide mineralization with predominantly pyrite and minor chalcopyrite.

An affiliation to the iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) category is discussed. Many, but not all of the distinctive IOCG features, are present in the studied area.


Publication title

Journal of African Earth Sciences








School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Precious (noble) metal ore exploration; Other mineral resources (excl. energy resources) not elsewhere classified; Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences