The Sanchakou Cu deposit is located in the eastern section of the Dananhu magmatic arc in the Eastern Tianshan orogenic belt, northwest China. Sanchakou is hosted by quartz diorite and granodiorite intrusions. Chalcopyrite and bornite are the dominant ore minerals and occur as disseminations, patches, veins, and veinlets. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) U-Pb dating of zircons shows that the ore-bearing intrusions were emplaced at ca. 435–432 Ma, recording the early subduction of the Paleo-Tianshan oceanic plate. The enrichment in large ion lithophile elements (LILEs), depletion in high field strength elements (HFSEs), and moderate Mg# values, together with mantle-like bulk Sr-Nd and zircon Hf-O isotope signatures (δ18O = 4.0–5.3‰), suggest that they were generated from partial melting of metasomatized mantle materials by subducted slab fluids. In situ S and whole-rock Pb isotope results imply that the Sanchakou diorite magmas provided ore-forming components (S and metals), with additional minor metals (e.g., Cu and Pb) sourced from crustal components beneath the Dananhu arc. The redox state of diorite magmas ranges from initial high fO2 (>FMQ + 2, where FMQ is the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer) to relatively low fO2 (<FMQ + 2) upon magma ascent and cooling. The late-stage less oxidized magma compositions are consistent with the presence of magmatic sulfides in primary plagioclase and magnetite. Estimates of water-sulfur-chlorine contents in magma using plagioclase, amphibole, and apatite compositions reveal that the diorite magmas had high water (>7 wt %), normal S (8–393 ppm), and systematically low Cl (38–1,100 ppm) contents. A constant and favorable elevated magma oxidation state appears critical for generating an economic porphyry Cu deposit. Additionally, Cl melt concentrations may be a key factor that controlled metal fertility of the deposits in the Eastern Tianshan, although the mineralization potential may also relate to depth of emplacement of the hydrothermal system. The anomalous presence of stellerite with chalcopyrite in late-stage veins indicates that original porphyry-style mineralization at Sanchakou underwent deformation-related modification after its formation.

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