State of the art: Italian carbonatites and their potential for critical-metal deposits

F. Stoppa, Franco Pirajno, M. Schiazza, N.V. Vladykin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 International Association for Gondwana Research
This paper is an updated overview, including many new data, of what is known about Italian alkaline–carbonatite complexes, plus a new description of a carbothermal residua-related district, and its potential for mineral deposits. The Italian carbonatite occurrences can be divided into two belts. The first is a 350 km long and 75 km wide belt along the Apennines mountain range mainly with primary extrusive carbonatites generally from monogenic volcanoes and from the Vulture volcanic complex; the second belt is 60 km long and 20 km wide in the Northern Latium region in which carbothermal residua carbonatites and fluorite mineralisation deposited by high-temperature fluids rich in CO2, SO2 and fluorine are occurring in caldera volcanoes. Several of the raw materials, such as Light Rare Earth Elements, vanadium, niobium, zirconium, fluorite and phosphate are identified as critical as well as other commodities, occur in Italian carbonatites and alkaline rocks. At the Pianciano quarry (Bracciano) fluorite-rich ore (fluor-ore = fluorite in a mineralised gangue) is actually exploited as flux for cement, but Rare Earth Elements (+ V) could be a notable by-product (300,000 metric tonnes, equivalent to 4.2% of European resources). Pyrochlore, monazite, apatite, and britholite bearing subvolcanic rocks in ejecta from the Vulture volcano are of a near-economic grade, but their geological constraints are not known. A conceptual framework of combined geological and geochemical data improves the general understanding of this regional magmatic system, aimed at laying the foundations of a future geological model disclosing unrecognised potential exploration targets. However, this paper is not intended for direct use by the exploration industry; rather it is principally aimed at mineralogists and petrologists who could develop strategies for the identification of unexposed or unrecognised deposits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-171
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


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