The Tethyan metallogeny of Turkey, shaped by the interplay between subduction, collision, postcollision, and rifting processes, is mainly associated with Late Cretaceous to Cenozoic volcanoplutonic and ophiolitic rocks. A wide spectrum of ore deposits is represented from those occurring in island arcs to those associated with continental settings. Though Turkey has been one of the leading producers of chromite, the country is an emerging producer of precious and base metals.
This assessment of the metallogeny of Turkey is based on a comprehensive GIS database compilation that contains known mineral deposits and prospects with relevant descriptive data. The data set contains information on major deposit types of economic importance such as porphyry, skarn, epithermal including both high-and low-sulfidation, polymetallic volcanic-associated massive sulfide (VMS) deposits including both Kuroko and Cyprus types, podiform chromite, lateritic nickel, carbonate-hosted lead-zinc with nonsulfide zinc including sedimentary-exhalative (SEDEX) and Mississippi Valley type (MVT), karstic and lateritic bauxite, orogenic gold including both mesothermal and listwanite-hosted types, and placer deposits. Well known deposit types that are less well represented in the database include sediment-hosted Cu, Carlin-type gold, iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG), and detachment-fault related gold systems.
Exploration programs in the last two decades have started to reveal the true mineral potential of the country. Turkey is an underexplored country by today’s standards, with a large prospective area with a wide spectrum of mineral deposits reflecting the diverse geological environments that are present. Turkey is the least well explored portion of the Tethyan belt, which hosts Au and Cu endowments comparable with the Andes and the southwest Pacific metallogenic belts.