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TitleData-driven prospectivity modelling of sediment-hosted Zn-Pb mineral systems and their critical raw materials
AuthorLawley, C J MORCID logo; McCafferty, A E; Graham, G E; Gadd, M GORCID logo; Huston, D L; Kelley, K D; Emsbo, P; Czarnota, K; Paradis, SORCID logo; Peter, J MORCID logo; Hayward, NORCID logo; Barlow, M; Coyan, J; San Juan, C
SourceOre Geology Reviews vol. 141, 104635, 2021 p. 1-23, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210482
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceCanada; British Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
AreaCanada; United States of America; Australia
Lat/Long WENS-120.0000 -70.0000 50.0000 15.0000
Lat/Long WENS 110.0000 150.0000 -10.0000 -40.0000
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; mineralogy; Science and Technology; modelling, structural; modelling; zinc; lead; minerals; machine learning
Illustrationsschematic diagrams; tables; photomicrographs; location maps; geological sketch maps; bar graphs; plots
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-6) Digital Geoscience and Method Development Project
Released2021 12 09
AbstractDemand for critical raw materials is expected to accelerate over the next few decades due to continued population growth and the shifting consumption patterns of the global economy. Sedimentary basins are important sources for critical raw materials and new discoveries of sediment-hosted Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) and/or clastic-dominated (CD) deposits are likely required to mitigate future supply chain disruptions for Zn, Pb, Ag, Cd, Ga, Ge, Sb, and In. However, the drivers, sources, pathways, and traps of MVT and CD deposits and their mappable proxies within the much larger, variably covered, and mostly unmineralized sedimentary basins remain some of the least understood aspects of these mineral systems. Herein we address those knowledge gaps by integrating public geoscience datasets from Canada, the United States of America, and Australia using a discrete global grid system to map the continent scale footprints of MVT and CD deposits. Statistical analysis of the model results demonstrate that surface wave tomography and derivative products from satellite gravity datasets can be used to map the most favourable paleo tectonic settings of MVT and CD deposits inboard of orogenic belts and at the rifted edges of cratonic lithosphere, respectively. Basin development at pre existing crustal boundaries was likely important for maintaining the low geothermal gradients that are favourable for metal transport and generating the deep fluid-pathways that were re-activated during ore-formation, as suggested by the statistical association between both sediment hosted mineral systems with the edges of upward-continued gravity and long wavelength magnetic anomalies. We further demonstrate that maximum and minimum geological ages, coupled with Phanerozoic paleo-geographic reconstructions, represent mappable proxies for the availability of oxidized, brine-generating regions that are the most likely source of ore-forming fluids (e.g., low- to mid-latitude carbonate platforms and evaporites). Deposition of Zn, Pb, and associated critical raw materials was likely controlled by interaction between oxidized, low-temperature brines and sulphidic and/or carbonaceous rocks, which, in some cases, can be mapped at surface or matched with the available rock descriptions. Baseline weights of evidence models are based on regional geophysics and are the least impacted by the availability of surface exposure, but yield relatively poor performance, as demonstrated by the low area under the curve (AUC) for the spatially independent test set on the success-rate plot (AUC = 0.643 and AUC = 0.588 for MVT and CD, respectively). Model performance can be improved by: (1) using advanced methods that were trained and validated during a series of semi automated machine learning compositions; and (2) incorporating geological and geophysical datasets that address each component of the mineral system. The best-performing gradient boosting machines models from these competitions yield an AUC of 0.954 and 0.933 for MVT and CD deposits, respectively, for the same test set. These preferred prospectivity models reduce the search space for 90% of MVT and CD deposits by >96%. Overall, model results highlight the potential benefits of mapping sediment-hosted mineral systems at the largest spatial scales to improve mineral exploration targeting for critical raw materials.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The current study was completed as part of the Critical Mineral Mapping Initiative (CMMI) between the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and Geoscience Australia (GA). We report prospectivity model results for sediment-hosted mineral deposits to support mineral exploration for critical raw materials in sedimentary basins.

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