Abstract

The Minas de Oro Cu-Au skarn and replacement deposits are located in the highlands of central Honduras, 90 km north-northwest of the capital of Tegucigalpa.

The deposits formed in Cretaceous volcano-sedimentary rocks following the emplacement of an early Paleocene granodiorite to dacite intrusive complex. Three types of skarn (Type IA, IB, and IC) and a low-temperature replacement mineralization (Type II) are recognized. Type IA skarn consists of massive brown-green andradite and lesser magnetite and pyroxene. Type IB skarn has magnetite + hematite as the main constituent and garnet <50%. Type IC skarn comprises >50% pyrrhotite + chalcopyrite with interstitial garnet or pyroxene. Au and Cu occur in potentially economic concentrations in all skarn types while other metals such as Ag, Pb, Zn, and Mo are locally present in significant quantities. The highly variable distribution and nature of the skarn deposits is controlled by: (1) intrusive activity, (2) composition of host rocks, (3) faulting and fracturing, and (4) attitude of host carbonates.

Type II Au-Cu-As mineralization occurs in calcareous sandstone and conglomerate 2 km distal from skarns and comprises clots of Cu sulfides hosted within a zone of brecciation and quartz flooding. Garnet and/or magnetite skarn is not present and the mineralizing event appears to have been a low-temperature replacement type.

The similarity of coeval Au-Cu-Fe skarns in central Guerrero, southern Mexico to Minas de Oro skarns, and the similar local stratigraphy is consistent with the generally accepted theory that the Chortis block originated from southern Mexico and during the Tertiary moved southeast to its present position.

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