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TitleApplication of indicator minerals to identify fertile porphyry and epithermal ore systems
AuthorLee, R G; Baker, S; Bouzari, R; Plouffe, AORCID logo
SourceAME Roundup 2022; 2022 p. 1
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210402
PublisherAssociation of Mineral Exploration of British Columbia
MeetingAME Roundup 2022; January 31-February 3, 2022
File formatpdf
Subjectseconomic geology; mineralogy; geochemistry; surficial geology/geomorphology; regional geology; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; mineral exploration; mineral potential; exploration methods; mineral deposits; porphyry deposits; epithermal deposits; ore mineral genesis; mineralization; mineral associations; tectonic setting; magmatism; hydrothermal systems; fluid dynamics; metasomatism; hydrothermal alteration; bedrock geology; sediments; Canadian Cordillera
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-6) Ore systems
Released2022 02 01
AbstractIndicator minerals as applied to exploration are those minerals that are either directly linked to mineralization or have trace element composition and textural characterization that record the presence of a magmatic hydrothermal fluid that formed an ore deposit. Successful discoveries of diamondiferous kimberlites and critical mineral deposits using indicator minerals testify to their usefulness in the exploration toolbox. The large-scale footprint of porphyry and epithermal systems and the numerous types of indicator minerals present within these systems make it challenging to apply a consistent mineralogical study approach for exploration. In porphyry systems, indicator minerals can include ore (e.g. chalcopyrite, gold grains, molybdenite), magmatic (e.g. zircon, apatite, titanite, rutile, plagioclase) or hydrothermal alteration minerals (chlorite, epidote, apatite, titanite, rutile, magnetite, pyrite, hematite, andalusite, mica, albite, K-feldspar). These minerals also form in rocks barren of mineralization. It can be challenging to interpret the subtle changes in mineral composition and texture to determine if they were derived from potential porphyry deposits.
This talk discusses recent research on indicator minerals from porphyry deposits in the North American Cordillera and selected districts worldwide. Critical features in indicator mineral chemistry and texture can help identify potential targets with minerals such as zircon and apatite, providing a temporal history of the source magma and magmatic fluids. Distally, chlorite and epidote composition changes discriminate large-scale provenance metasomatism from porphyry hydrothermal alteration. Sampling resistate indicator minerals both in bedrock and detrital catchment provide means to fingerprint ore bodies and drive targeted exploration vectoring. The application of indicator minerals to identify porphyry systems is a valid approach to exploration when using the correct sampling scale, analytical equipment, and modelling interpretations.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This is an abstract for a talk to be presented at the AMEBC Roundup Conference in January 2022. The talk will present the application of minerals indicative of the potential discovery of copper mineralization in the Canadian Cordillera.

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