The chronostratigraphy of the Bushmanland Ore District and the Namaqua-Natal Province has long been debated, but recent microbeam dating has resolved several issues. An important aspect is the precise age of the sedimentary-exhalative ores and their tectonostratigraphic context. Published constraints on the maximum age of the ores from detrital zircon dating are 1 285 ± 14 Ma (n=4, Gamsberg ore), 1 215 ± 18 Ma (n=6, Wortel Formation) and a tentative 1 118 ± 33 Ma (n=3, Hotson Formation at Black Mountain). The ore is older than the 1 130 ± 35 Ma Koeris Formation metabasalt which unconformably overlies it.

Aplite dykes, which intrude the ore of the Black Mountain deposit, provide another potential minimum age constraint on the ore. A sample was dated at 1 175 ± 15 Ma by ion probe U-Pb zircon dating. This shows that the aplite dykes belong to the late-collisional Springputs Suite of granitoids which includes the 1 163 ± 11 Ma Achab and 1 149 ± 15 Ma Hoogoor Gneisses, for which the field relationship with the ores had not been established.

The regional M2 metamorphism was recorded in aplite zircon rims at 1 027 ± 9 Ma and at 1 030 ± 6 Ma in monazite and xenotime in the Hotson Formation host rock schists. Detrital zircons, dated by Laser Ablation ICPMS in a host rock schist sample, reflect a dominant Palaeoproterozoic provenance with major age group at 2 003 ± 17 Ma and minor groups at 1 847 and 2 105 Ma. Only 16 analyses were made, which probably accounts for the absence of minor Mesoproterozoic provenance components found in other published datasets.

The age of the Black Mountain ore is now constrained between 1 215 ± 18 Ma and 1 175 ± 15 Ma. The tentative 1 118 ± 33 Ma detrital zircon maximum age is shown to be unreliable in view of two younger magmatic rocks with older dates (1 175 and 1 130 Ma). The SEDEX ores thus formed during or just before the ~1 210 Ma assembly of Namaqua terranes and before the ~1 150 Ma syntectonic Springputs Suite granitoid magmatism.

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