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The supergiant Grasberg porphyry deposit in Papua, Indonesia (5.26 Gt @ 0.61% Cu and 0.57 g/t Au, with no cutoff applied) is hosted by the Grasberg Igneous Complex that fills an upward-flared diatreme ~1,800 m wide at the 4,250-m surface elevation. The Grasberg Igneous Complex is emplaced into folded and strike-slip faulted Tertiary and older sediments and comprises 3.6 to 3.3 Ma Dalam monzodiorite intrusions and subordinate volcanic rocks occupying much of the pipe, the central 3.2 Ma Main Grasberg intrusion, and the NW-SE-trending 3.2 to 3.0 Ma Kali dikes.

The Grasberg Igneous Complex contains two porphyry systems: Gajah Tidur copper-(molybdenum) and Main Grasberg copper-gold. The Gajah Tidur intrusion belongs to the Dalam igneous group and is a 3.4 Ma porphyritic monzonite with its top at a 2,750-m elevation; it is overprinted by an extensive, domal, quartz stockwork, with a low-grade and intensely phyllic-altered core, surrounded by molybdenite-bearing veins, with a pre-Main Grasberg Re-Os age, as well as chalcopyrite and overprinting pyrite-covellite veins. The strongly potassic-altered, Main Grasberg monzodiorite porphyry extends from surface to the 2,700-m elevation and is overprinted by a cylindrical, ~1-km-diameter, intense quartz-magnetite stockwork cut by abundant chalcopyrite-bornite veins with rare molybdenite dated at 3.09 Ma. A 700-m-wide annulus of chalcopyrite overprinted by pyrite-covellite-mineralized phyllic alteration surrounds the stockwork. Altered and mineralized Main Grasberg and surrounding Dalam rocks were subsequently wedged apart by the largely unmineralized Kali dikes.

Gold is predominantly associated with the Main Grasberg porphyry system where it occurs as 1- to 150-µm (avg ~15 µm) native gold inclusions within chalcopyrite and bornite. Melt and fluid inclusions from Main Grasberg stockwork quartz veins, which exhibit crack-seal textures, comprise K-feldspar-rich silicate melt, sulfide melt, virtually water-free salt melt, and coexisting hypersaline and vapor-rich fluids.

Factors important in forming the Grasberg deposit include the following: (1) generation of highly oxidized fertile magma in a postsubduction tectonic setting; (2) efficient extraction of metals from the parental magma chamber; (3) prolonged maintenance of a fluid-accumulating cupola in a strike-slip structural setting that delivered multiple overlapping discharges of metal-rich fluid; (4) highly focused fluid flow into a narrow, permeable stockwork zone in which a steep temperature gradient enabled highly efficient copper and gold precipitation and led to high ore grades; (5) limited dilution by postmineral intrusions; (6) the youthfulness of the deposit minimized erosion and resulted in preservation of nearly all the high-grade Main Grasberg porphyry orebody; and (7) the proximity of the two porphyry centers enables them to be mined as a single, large deposit.

The Gajah Tidur copper-(molybdenum) and Main Grasberg copper-gold porphyry centers overlap in space and formed within ~250,000 years of one another. However, their distinct metal endowment, depth of emplacement, and geometry indicate that they formed under different magmatic, hydrothermal, and structural conditions, which are the subject of ongoing research.

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