Title

Fluorspar Deposits at Okorusu, Namibia with Emphasis upon Electron Microprobe Analyses of Carbonatite Minerals and Fluorite Fluid Inclusion Temperatures and Salinities

Abstract

The fluorspar deposits at Okorusu, Namibia are closely related to an alkaline igneous ring complex of late Cretaceous age (125±7 Ma), The fluorite ores consist of relatively fine-grained purple replacement fluorite and subsequent coarser-grained purple and green vug-filling fluorite crystals. Homogenisation temperature measurements for 38 primary fluid inclusions shows that main stage purple to green fluorite crystals were deposited over a temperature range from 166°C to 144°C, and minor late yellow fluorite was deposited at lower temperatures from 132°C to 128°C. Homogenisation and freezing temperatures measured for 18 primary fluid inclusions shows that the fluorite-depositing fluids were less saline than Mississippi Valley-Type (MVT) ore fluids and overlap the lower temperature range of fluids that deposited epithermal ore deposits. Mining in three open pits (A, B and C) at Okorusu has gradually provided exposures which reveal that the fluorite orebodies have been emplaced primarily by the preferential replacement of carbonatites. Evidence for the replacement of carbonatite includes: replacement remnants of carbonatite within the fluorite ores; goethite pseudomorphs after the carbonatite minerals, pyroxene, pyrrhotite and magnetite, which are disseminated in the fluorite ores; and partial replacement by fluorite of a large sill-like carbonatite body in the A pit. Electron microprobe analyses of minerals in unreplaced portions of the carbonatites show that their mineralogy consists of titaniferous magnetite, diopside pyroxene, apatite, biotite and calcite. Magnetite contains 6.97 per cent to 10.46 per cent TiO2, averages 8.44 per cent TiO2, and has an average V2O3 content of 0.35 per cent. At high magnifications under the scanning electron microscope (SEM), the magnetite shows abundant fine ulvöspinel exsolution lamellae arranged in a cloth texture. Apatite contains moderately high fluorine contents that range from 3.21 to 5.0 per cent and average 4.2 per cent, and apatite crystals range in total rare earth oxides from 1.7 per cent to 2.61 per cent. Pyroxenes in the carbonatites are iron-rich diopside, and they contrast to pyroxenes in the fenites that are aegirine-augite. All of the microprobe analyses for mica crystals in the carbonatites give biotite compositions. Microscopic examination of fluorite concentrates from Okorusu provides mineralogical information important to the resolution of beneficiation problems. Fluorite ores that are related to carbonatites are typically accompanied by phosphorus benefication problems. The cause for the presence of phosphate in some of the Okorusu fluorite concentrates is a function of the presence of binary locked fluorite-apatite particles. The fluorite ores have also replaced marble locally in the A pit, especially along the A band in the B pit, and dominantly in the orebody proposed for the new C pit. Those ores are characterised by fine grain sizes, faint remnant bedding, lack of carbonatite mineral pseudomorphs and local presence of remnants of unreplaced marble. Concentrates derived from those fluorite ores are devoid of phosphorus, but commonly have elevated silica contents due the presence of free quartz. Carbonatite and marble were preferentially replaced by fluorite because the calcite was readily soluble in the presence of the fluorite-depositing fluids and the dissolution of calcite provided calcium for the formation of fluorite.

Meeting Name

9th International Congress for Applied Mineralogy (2008: Sep. 8-10, Brisbane, Australia)

Department(s)

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Apatite; Calcite; Calcium; Calcium Fluoride; Carbonate Minerals; Concentration (process); Crystallography; Crystals; Dissolution; Electron Probe Microanalysis; Fluids; Fluorine; Fluorspar; Fluorspar Deposits; Halide Minerals; Inclusions; Iron Ores; Lithology; Magnetite; Marble; Mica; Microanalysis; Microscopic Examination; Mineralogy; Open Pit Mining; Ore Deposit Geology; Ore Deposits; Ores; Oxide Minerals; Phosphate Minerals; Phosphorus; Quartz; Rare Earth Elements; Scanning Electron Microscopy; Sedimentary Rocks; Silica; Silicate Minerals; Sulfide Minerals; Temperature Measurement, Apatite Crystals; Carbonatite; Carbonatites; Cretaceous Ages; Electron Microprobe Analyses; Epithermal Ore Deposits; Exsolution; Fine Grains; Fluid Inclusions; Fluorine Contents; Fluorite Crystals; Freezing Temperatures; High Magnifications; Homogenisation; Mica Crystals; Microprobe Analyses; Mississippi; Namibia; Open Pits; Ore Bodies; Ore Fluids; Partial Replacements; Scanning Electron Microscopes; Silica Contents; Temperature Ranges; Titaniferous Magnetites; Minerals

Geographic Coverage

Okorusu, Namibia

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

9781920806873

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2008 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, All rights reserved.

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