A brief review of metal discoveries in the Tethyan belt since 1992

AUTHORS: Canby, V.M.

ABSTRACT: Since 1992, copper and gold deposits overwhelmingly dominated both value and number of new discoveries, or resource expansions, in the Tethyan metallogenic belt. Nearly all of the raw, in-ground value of deposits with resources, and those considered likely to generate resources in the near future (representing an aggregate of roughly $78 billion at $2200/t Cu, $10,000/t Ni, $500/oz Au, $10/oz Ag and $1100/t Zn), is contributed by magmatic-related systems, namely porphyry CuAu deposits, and porphyry- and diatreme-related low-sulphidation epithermal (LSE) or transitional porphyry-low-sulphidation AuAg deposits. The dominance of gold deposits both in number and to a lesser extent in value reflects the application of bulk-minable gold deposit models, long-term price increases, and heap-leach process technology, while the dominance of Cu is attributable to the large tonnages of porphyry systems and the presence of one giant deposit cluster (Reko Diq). Notably absent are significant additions to PbZn(Ag) resources due a hiatus in price and unstable regional politics; absent are large Ag-dominant epithermal systems; and, in particular contrast to discovery history in the Pacific rim, absent are new giant high-sulphidation epithermal (HSE) systems. While the frequency of discovery of porphyry deposits continues, individual deposit size has so far not exceeded ~300Mt since the discovery of Reko Diq cluster in 1993-1998.

KEYWORDS: Tethyan, metal, discoveries, review

EAN: SGA_2007_A024
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