Stewart D. Redwood, 2005. "Geology and Development History of the Antamina Copper-Zinc Skarn Deposit, Peru", Andean Metallogeny: New Discoveries, Concepts, and Updates, Richard H. Sillitoe, José Perelló, César E. Vidal
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Antamina, the world’s largest copper-zinc skarn deposit, entered production in 2001. This paper describes the development of the geologic model for the feasibility study (1996–1998). Antamina is located in the eastern part of the Western Cordillera of northern Peru at latitude 9° 32′ S and longitude 77° 03′ W and 4,200 to 4,800 m in elevation.
Antamina has a long history of exploration and is a case study of successful creation of an orebody from a mineral resource. While small-scale mining is recorded intermittently since 1860, the first serious exploration was not begun until a century later by Cerro de Pasco Corporation (1952–1970), followed by a Minero Peru-Geomin (Romania) partnership, which conducted a feasibility study (1970–1976) with a reserve of 128.6 million metric tons (Mt) at 1.6 percent Cu and 1.3 percent Zn.
Privatization of the project was won by Compañía Minera Antamina in 1996. This consortium undertook a major exploration program and completed a full feasibility study in 1998 that defined a minable, open-pittable resource of 500 Mt at 1.2 percent Cu, 1.0 percent Zn, 0.03 percent Mo, and 12 g/t Ag within a global resource of 1,500 Mt. Production is by open pit and flotation at 70,000 t/d, producing 270,000 t of copper and 162,000 t of zinc in concentrates per year. This makes Antamina the seventh largest copper and the third largest zinc mine in the world.
Antamina is located in the polymetallic belt of central Peru, which comprises copper, zinc, silver, lead and gold deposits related to mid to late Miocene calc-alkaline stocks. The regional geologic setting comprises Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous siliciclastic to carbonate sequences in a northwest-trending foreland fold-thrust belt of mid-Eocene age, the Incaic II deformation phase. Antamina is hosted by calcareous siltstone and mudstone of the Late Cretaceous Upper Celendin Formation. Skarn mineralization forms a shell over and around a quartz monzonite porphyry stock of late Miocene age, which itself hosts subeconomic porphyry copper-molybdenum mineralization. The skarn body is approximately 2,500 m long in a northeasterly direction and up to 1,000 m wide, with a known vertical extent of 1,000 m. The skarn consists mainly of andraditic garnet. It is symmetrically zoned around the intrusion from proximal brown garnet endoskarn and exoskarn outward to green garnet exoskarn, with peripheral wollastonite-diopside exoskarn. Significant copper mineralization is hosted by endoskarn. Retrograde chlorite skarn and hydrothermal breccia are minor.
Metals are zoned laterally from a central copper-only zone to a peripheral copper-zinc zone. Chalcopyrite is distributed throughout all skarn zones. Appearance of sphalerite approximately coincides with the transition from brown to green garnet. The copper-zinc zone thins at depth and originally appears to have closed over the top of the intrusion, although most of it has been eroded. The main copper mineral in the wollastonite-diop-side skarn is bornite, and this zone also has elevated gold values. Silver, lead, and bismuth values are highest in the outer part of the copper-zinc zone and adjacent marble. Molybdenite occurs in the intrusion and adjacent skarn, as well as being abundant in the wollastonite-diopside skarn. Sulfides were deposited during the late prograde and retrograde phases and occur disseminated interstitial to garnet; as irregular massive sulfide zones; and as veinlets. The deposit was unroofed by glaciation and is exposed in a glacial valley; hence there is no significant oxidation or enrichment.
Antamina is an oxidized calcic copper skarn related to a calc-alkaline quartz monzonite porphyry stock containing subeconomic porphyry copper-molybdenum mineralization. The outer zinc zone is unusually well developed. Features that appear to have contributed to Antamina’s world-class status include a possible mantle origin of the intrusions, the basin-margin setting of the host sedimentary rocks, favorable structural preparation, limited retrograde alteration, and partial preservation of the intrusion roof zone.
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A variety of metals and deposit types define the metallogeny of the Andes from Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia to Argentina and Chile, although porphyry copper and epithermal gold deposits undoubtedly predominate and will continue to do so. Discoveries over the last 30 yrs or so, predominantly in the central Andes and especially Chile, have been made using routine, field-based geologic and complementary geochemical methods, a situation that is considered unlikely to change radically in the foreseeable future. The only clearcut evolutionary change is the increased number of deposits being discovered beneath pre- and postmineral cover. The predictive capacity of conceptual geology has had minimal impact on the Andean discovery record but is thought to offer much promise for the future. This introductory article selects mineralization styles and relationships as well as some broader metallogenic parameters as simple examples of geologic concepts that may assist exploration. Emphasis is placed on porphyry copper ± molybdenum ± gold and high-, intermediate-, and lowsulfidation epithermal gold ± silver deposits, although reference is also made to several carbonate rock-hosted precious and base metal deposit types and styles as well as subvolcanic tin, volcanogenic massive sulfide, and slate-belt and intrusion-related gold deposits. Particular emphasis is placed on the potential for exceptionally high grade porphyry copper, porphyry gold, epithermal gold, and subvolcanic tin deposits. Deposits resulting from the oxidation, enrichment, and chemical transport of copper and zinc and mechanical transport of gold and silver during supergene weathering are also briefly highlighted.
Si bien la metalogenia de los Andes de Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia y Chile se encuentra definida por una gama de metales y estilos de mineralización, son los depósitos tipo pórfido de cobre y epitermal de oro los que dominan en el presente y continuarán prevaleciendo en el futuro. Los descubrimientos de los últimos 30 años, predominantemente en los Andes centrales y especialmente en Chile, han sido realizados mediante métodos geológicos rutinarios de campo, generalmente complementados satisfactoriamente por métodos geoquímicos. Se estima que esta situación difícilmente experimentará variaciones radicales en un futuro cercano. El único cambio destacable en esta historia evolutiva está dado por el aumento apreciable de descubrimientos de depósitos cubiertos, bajo cobertura pre o postmineral. A nivel andino, la capacidad predictiva de la geología conceptual ha tenido un impacto mínimo en el número total de descubrimientos, aunque se piensa que su uso debiera garantizar buenas perspectivas futuras. El presente artículo