The genesis of metal zonation in the Weilasituo and Bairendaba Ag-Zn-Pb-Cu-(Sn-W) deposits in the shallow part of a porphyry Sn-W-Rb system, Inner Mongolia, China

Y. Liu, S. Jiang, Leon Bagas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    81 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015 Elsevier B.V. The Weilasituo and Bairendaba Zn-Pb-Ag-Cu-(Sn-W) sulphide deposits are located in the southern part of Great Xing'an Range of Inner Mongolia in China. The deposits are located at shallow depths in the newly discovered Weilasituo porphyry hosting Sn-W-Rb mineralization. The mineralization at Weilasituo and Bairendaba consist of zoned massive sulphide veins within fractures cutting the Xilinhot Metamorphic Complex and quartz diorite. The Weilasituo deposit gradually zones from the Cu-rich Zn-Cu sulphide mineralization in the west to Zn-rich Zn-Cu sulphide mineralization in the east. The Bairendaba deposit has a Cu-bearing and Zn-rich core through a transitional zone devoid of copper to an outer zone of Zn-Pb-Ag mineralization. Three main veins contain more than 50 wt.% of the contained metal in the two deposits with their metal ratios displaying a systematic and gradual increase in Zn/Cu, Pb/Zn and Ag/Zn ratios from the western part of Weilasituo to the eastern part of Bairendaba.Three stages of vein-type mineralization are recognized. Early, sub-economic mineralization consists of a variable proportion of euhedral arsenopyrite, pyrite, quartz, and rare wolframite, scheelite, cassiterite, magnetite and cobaltite. This was succeeded by main stage mineralization with economic concentration of zoned Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag sulphide minerals along strike within the veins. The zones consist of the assemblages: (1) pyrrhotite-Fe-rich sphalerite-chalcopyrite(-quartz-fluorite) at west Weilasituo; (2) pyrrhotite-Fe-rich sphalerite-chalcopyrite(-galena-tetrahedrite-quartz-fluorite) at east Weilasituo; (3) pyrrhotite-Fe-rich sphalerite-chalcopyrite(-galena-tetrahedrite-quartz-fluorite) in the centre of Bairendaba; (4) pyrrhotite-Fe-rich sphalerite-galena(-chalcopyrite-tetrahedrite-quartz-fluorite) in the transition zone of Bairendaba; and (5) pyrrhotite-Fe-rich sphalerite-galena-tetrahedrite(-chalcopyrite-falkmanite-argentite-pyrargyrite-quartz-fluorite) in the outer zone at Bairendaba. Post-main ore stage is devoid of sulphides and characterized overprinting of fluorite, sericite, chlorite, illite, kaolinite and calcite.Zircon SHRIMP U-Pb dating, Zircon LA-ICP-MS U-Pb dating, molybdenite Re-Os isochron dating, and muscovite Ar-Ar dating indicate the Beidashan granitic batholith was intruded at 140 ± 3. Ma (MSWD = 3.3), the porphyritic monzogranite from marginal facies of the Beidashan batholith was intruded at 139 ± 2 Ma (MSWD = 0.75), the mineralized quartz porphyry was intruded at 135 ± 2. Ma (MSWD = 0.91), the greisen mineralization occurred at 135 ± 11 Ma (MSWD = 7.2), and the post-main ore stage muscovite deposited at 129.5. ± 0.9 Ma. The new geochronology data show the porphyry Sn-W-Rb and vein-type sulphide mineralization are contemporaneous with granitic magmatism in the region.The metal zonation at the Weilasituo and Bairendaba deposits is a result of progressive metal deposition. This was during the evolution of a metal-bearing fluid along the strike of the veins and during the main stage of ore formation at the upper part of the deep-seated porphyry Sn-W-Rb system. This progressive zonation indicates that the deposits represent end-numbers formed from one ore-forming fluid, which moved from west to east from the porphyry. The metal zonation patterns of the major veins are consistent with metal-bearing fluid entering the system with the precipitation of chalcopyrite proximally and sphalerite, galena and Ag-bearing minerals more distally. We show that the mechanism of metal deposition is therefore controlled by thermodynamic conditions resulting in the progressive separation of sulphides from the metal-bearing fluid. The temperature gradient between the inflow zone and the outflow zone appears to be one of the key parameters controlling the formation of the metal zonation pattern. The sulphide precipitation sequence is consistent with a low fS2 and low fO2 state of the acidic metal-bearing fluid. The metal zonation pattern provides helpful clues from which it is possible to establish the nature of fluid migration and metal deposition models to locate a possible porphyry mineralization at depth in the Great Xing'an Range, which is consistent with the geology of the newly discovered porphyry Sn-W-Rb system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)150-173
    Number of pages24
    JournalOre Geology Reviews
    Early online date12 Dec 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'The genesis of metal zonation in the Weilasituo and Bairendaba Ag-Zn-Pb-Cu-(Sn-W) deposits in the shallow part of a porphyry Sn-W-Rb system, Inner Mongolia, China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this