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Mineral deposits with large inventories or high grades of silver are found in four genetic groups: (1) volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS), (2) sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX), (3) lithogene, and, (4) magmatichydrothermal. Principal differences between the four groups relate to source rocks and regions, metal associations, process and timing of mineralization, and tectonic setting. These four groups may be subdivided into specific metal associations on ternary diagrams based on relative metal contents.

The VMS deposits rarely contain more than 15,600 t Ag (500 Moz). Grades average 33 g/t Ag. Variable Ag-Pb-Zn-Cu-Au ± Sn concentrations are interpreted as having been derived both...

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