Abstract

The Shaba-type Luamata Cu-Co(-Ni) deposit (11°50′S, 24°28′E) is located in a tectonic slice of Katangan Roan Supergroup (Mines Group) sedimentary rocks, surrounded by younger Kundelungu Supergroup lithologies in the external fold and thrust belt of the Lufilian Arc. Luamata is a classic central African copper clearing in dense woodland, visible as a tonal botanical anomaly on Landsat imagery. Supergene Cu-Co mineralization (especially malachite and subordinate chalcocite, digenite, covellite, and copper and cobalt oxides) and, probably hypogene, bornite, and chalcopyrite are hosted by altered, but essentially unmetamorphosed, moderately dipping, dolostones and dolomitic shales. Alteration products include talcose dolomite, sericite rocks and intense silicification and brecciation. Friable yellow shale is best mineralized with cobalt (up to 0.43 wt%), whereas, highest copper grades occur in brecciated, silicified shale (up to 13.5 wt% CuO). Soil copper and cobalt contents are up to 2.2 and 0.6 wt%, respectively. A newly identified nickel zone (where soil contents exceed 0.1 wt% Ni) fringes the Cu-Co deposit. Polymictic, matrix-supported breccias with a calcareous matrix that underlie the Cu-Co deposit are interpreted to be fluidization breccias related to thrust tectonics and the emplacement of the Mines Group slice. Although small compared to the Kolwezi district Shaba deposits in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luamata exhibits all the classic features of an ore deposit type (with low calcite contents), whose high metal concentrations could potentially be very profitably exploited by low-cost opencast mining and hydrometallurgical recovery methods.

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