A review of the deposition of iron-formation and genesis of the related iron ore deposits as a guide to exploration for Precambrian iron ore deposits in southern Africa

Gapara, Cornwell Sine (1993) A review of the deposition of iron-formation and genesis of the related iron ore deposits as a guide to exploration for Precambrian iron ore deposits in southern Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Iron-formations are ferruginous sedimentary rocks which have their source from fumarolic activity associated with submarine volcanism, with deposition of iron as oxides, hydroxides, and hydrous oxide-silicate minerals in shallow and/or deep marine sedimentary systems. The Precambrian ironformations of southern Africa have a wide age range, but are more prominently developed before 1.SGa. These iron formations occur in greenstone belts of the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwean cratons, in the Limpopo mobile belt, in cratonic basins and in the Damara mobile belt. The Archaean-Proterozoic sedimentary basins and greenstone belts host iron ore deposits in iron-formation. Iron formations have a lengthy geological history. Most were subjected to intense, and on occasions repeated, tectonic and metamorphic episodes which also included metasomatic processes at times to produce supergene/hypogene high grade iron ores. Iron-formations may be enriched by diagenetic, and metamorphic processes to produce concentrating-grade ironformations. Uplift, weathering and denudation, have influenced the mineral association and composition of the ores, within which magnetite, haematite and goethite constitute the major ore minerals. The iron resources of the southern Africa region include the Sishen deposits, hosting to about 1200 Mt of high grade direct shipping ore, at >63% Fe. Deposits of Zimbabwe have more than 33 000 Mt of beneficiable iron-formation. The evaluation of an iron ore prospect involves many factors which must be individually assessed in order to arrive at an estimate of the probable profitability of the deposit. Many of these are geological and are inherent in the deposit itself. Other factors are inherent aspects of the environment in which the ore is formed. Although the geological character of the ore does not change, technological advances in the processing techniques may have a great effect on the cost of putting the ore into marketable form. Geochemical, geophysical and remote sensing methods would be used for regional exploration. Chip sampling and drilling are useful for detailed exploration. Purely geological exploration techniques are applicable on a prospect scale in the exploration of iron ore deposits. Regional exploration targeting should choose late Archaean greenstone belts containing oxide facies iron-formation or Early Proterozoic basins located at craton margins as they are both known to host high-grade haematite orebodies formed by supergene/hypogene enrichment. Most types of iron ore deposits in southern Africa are described and classified. An attempt is made to emphasize the major controls on mineralisation, in the hope that these may be applicable to exploration both in the southern African region and within analogous settings around the world.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Iron formation, Fumarolic activity, Submarine volcanism, Iron deposition, Oxides, Hydroxides, Hydrous oxide-silicate minerals, Marine sedimentary systems, Kaapvaal cratons, Zimbabwe cratons, Limpopo mobile belt, Damara mobile belt, Enrichment, Geological factors, Processing techniques, Exploration, Haematite orebodies
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geology
Supervisors:Moore, John
ID Code:3698
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:18 Oct 2012 12:09
Last Modified:18 Oct 2012 12:09
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