Formation of the giant Aynak copper deposit, Afghanistan: evidence from mineralogy, lithogeochemistry and sulfur isotopes

Waizy, Hamidullah and Moles, Norman and Smith, Martin and Boyce, Adrian (2020) Formation of the giant Aynak copper deposit, Afghanistan: evidence from mineralogy, lithogeochemistry and sulfur isotopes. [Data Collection]

Project Description

This project is based on PhD research undertaken by Hamidullah Waizy at the University of Brighton, 2014-2018. The files are linked to an article published on 4th October 2020 in 'International Geology Review', doi: 10.1080/00206814.2020.1824129 Abstract: Aynak is the largest known copper deposit in Afghanistan, with indicated resources of 240 Mt grading 2.3% Cu placing it in the ‘giant’ category. Host rocks are Neoproterozoic metasediments comprising dolomitic marble, carbonaceous quartz schist and quartz-biotite-dolomite schist containing garnet, scapolite and apatite. Chalcopyrite and bornite dominate the hypogene ore with lesser pyrite, pyrrhotite, cobaltite and chalcocite, and rare sphalerite, molybdenite, uraninite and barite. Sulfides occur as bedding-parallel laminae, disseminations, metamorphic segregations and crosscutting veins. Sulfide δ34S ratios range –14.5 to +17.3‰ in bedded and disseminated sulfides (n=34). This broad range favours biogenic reduction of seawater sulfate as a major source of sulfur, although thermochemical reduction processes are not precluded. The narrower δ34S range of –6 to +12.2‰ in vein and segregation sulfides (n=21) suggests localised redistribution and partial homogenization during metamorphism. Geochemical associations suggest that Al, P, Ca, Ti and Fe were primary sedimentary constituents whereas Cu, Mg, S, Se, As, Co and Bi were introduced subsequently. We infer that Aynak originated as a shale- and carbonate-hosted stratabound replacement deposit, resembling orebodies of the Central African Copperbelt, although underlying red-beds are absent at Aynak and mafic volcanics were the probable copper source. These giant deposits formed worldwide in the Cryogenian probably due to marine enrichment in copper, magnesium and sulfate coincident with profuse basaltic volcanism and ocean oxidation.

Uncontrolled Keywords: Sediment-hosted copper sulfide deposit; Copperbelt; Neoproterozoic; chalcopyrite; bornite; cobaltite; biogenic sulfate reduction; thermochemical sulfate reduction; stratabound replacement
Subjects: F Physical sciences > F600 Geology
F Physical sciences > F610 Applied geology
F Physical sciences > F620 Mining geology
F Physical sciences > F621 Exploration geology
F Physical sciences > F640 Earth science
F Physical sciences > F670 Geochemistry
Departments: School of Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Norman Moles
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2021 10:03
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2021 11:31
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