This study provides for the first time details of the mineralogy, petrography and mineral paragenetic relationships of manganese ores of the Avontuur deposit, a prominent northern outlier of the Kalahari Manganese Field in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Using a combination of light and electron microscopy and X-ray powder diffractometry on an extensive suite of exploration drill core samples, it is shown that the manganese ores comprise an exceptionally fine-grained assemblage of Mn2+-silicates (friedelite, tephroite, gageite), Mn2+/Mn3+-oxides (jacobsite, hausmannite) and Mn2+-carbonates (rhodochrosite, kutnahorite, Mn-dolomite and Mn-calcite). This mineral assemblage is a product of diagenesis and very low-grade regional metamorphism. Locally, this assemblage is overprinted by contact metamorphism or supergene alteration. Despite close geochemical and textural similarities, the manganese ores of the Avontuur deposit are surprisingly different in their mineralogy compared to the carbonate- and braunite-dominated mangano-lutites of the main Kalahari deposit. Distinctly higher concentrations of both SiO2and Fe2O3in the mangano-lutites of the Avontuur deposit as compared to the main Kalahari Deposit provide the reason for the markedly different mineralogy. Such marked differences in bulk chemistry are tentatively attributed to systematic lateral variations in the physicochemical conditions of mineral precipitation during the deposition of the Hotazel Formation.

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