Researchers and mineral explorationists have long searched for a “silver bullet” to find giant world-class ore deposits. Because of the ability of the rhenium (Re)-osmium (Os) isotopic system to directly trace the origin of metals in ore deposits, it has been suggested that Os isotopes may provide such a silver bullet.

Mathur et al. (2000) reported Re-Os isotope compositions for base-metal porphyry deposits in South America (principally Chile) with ore reserves ranging from 2 to 70 million tons contained Cu. They found that the largest porphyry Cu deposits exhibited the least radiogenic (more mantle-like) Os isotopic compositions (e.g., Chuquicamata: 187...

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