The rising demand of strategic metals, especially lithium, necessitates discovery of new resources to meet the global supply chain. Recently, several pegmatite-hosted rare metal (Li-Rb-Be-Nb-Ta) deposits have been discovered in the Western Kunlun orogenic belt, making it a new world-class rare metal resource (estimated ~7 Mt Li2O and 0.16 Mt BeO). Understanding the metallogenesis of this belt is critical to further evaluate the rare metal potential. In this study, columbite-tantalite (coltan) and monazite from rare metal pegmatites and zircon from potential parental granites were collected from five representative rare metal pegmatite deposits in the western, middle, and eastern parts of the Western Kunlun orogenic belt for U-Pb geochronology. The results indicate that despite the distances of the sampling localities in different parts of the Western Kunlun orogenic belt, the ages of pegmatite-hosted rare metal mineralization fall in a narrow range of ca. 208–204 Ma. These rare metal pegmatites are temporally and spatially related to adjacent postorogenic granites emplaced following the closure of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean. The compositional characteristics of K-feldspar, biotite, and muscovite of the granites and pegmatites, along with regional mineralogical and textural zonation of the pegmatites, suggest that the rare metal pegmatites were derived from the volumetrically much more important, highly fractionated granitic intrusions. We propose that, in combination with the data from previous studies, the 218–204 Ma interval represents a newly recognized rare metal metallogenic period linked with granitic intrusions in the Western Kunlun orogenic belt, revealing a 600-km-long late Triassic rare metal pegmatite belt composed of multiple ore fields formed in a similar metallogenic setting. These results emphasize the importance of identifying fertile, Late Triassic to Early Jurassic granitic intrusions for rare metal pegmatite exploration. Furthermore, combined with recent studies on the Songpan-Ganzi rare metal pegmatite belt along the eastern segment of the Paleo-Tethys, this study further highlights the great potential of rare metal resources in this global tectonic zone.

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