Abstract

The Kamoa copper deposit is located in the Katanga Province of the southern Democratic Republic of Congo outside of the area previously considered prospective for large copper deposits. With a 1% Cu cutoff, the hypogene ore zone of Kamoa spans over 81 km2, varying in thickness from 2 to 15 m, and is currently laterally unconstrained. The deposit is hosted at the stratigraphic contact between hematitic and locally pyritic Mwashya Subgroup sandstones and overlying fine-grained pyritic diamictites of the Grand Conglomérat unit of the Nguba Group. The Mwashya sandstones appear to have been deposited in a marginal marine to fluvial environment. The Grand Conglomérat diamictite contains glacially derived mass transport and sediment gravity flow deposits. The unit appears to have been deposited in a tectonically active, locally anoxic marine environment. The contact between the Mwashya and Grand Conglomérat units represents a major change in depositional style during what was probably a period of rapid subsidence or sea level rise. The majority of the Kamoa orebody occurs within the lowermost portion of the Grand Conglomérat unit that contains siltstones with high concentrations of diagenetic framboidal and later cubic pyrite that may be indicative of early hydrothermal activity. Later hydrothermal alteration mineral assemblages within the Grand Conglomérat are stratigraphically zoned, changing from a potassic alteration and silicification assemblage in the lowermost stratigraphic units to a dominantly magnesian alteration assemblage higher in the stratigraphy. Ore stage sulfide minerals are zoned vertically away from the Mwashya-Grand Conglomérat contact, changing from chalcocite to bornite to chalcopyrite to pyrite with increased stratigraphic height. Copper sulfide minerals occur as fine-grained disseminations within the diamictite matrix that probably represent replaced diagenetic pyrite as well as in coarse-grained mineral rims on diamictite clasts. The rims are best developed in the lowermost stratigraphic units and gradually lessen in size, vertical elongation, and abundance up stratigraphic section. Sulfur isotope studies indicate that most of the sulfur in the copper sulfides was derived from earlier formed diagenetic iron sulfide. Fluid inclusion analyses indicate that the ore-forming fluid was saline, ~23 to 26 wt % NaCl wt equiv, and had homogenization temperatures (Th) ranging from 210° to 240°C.

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