Abstract

The Shaimerden supergene zinc deposit in the southern Urals Mountains is located in the province of Kostanai in northwest Kazakhstan. It lies at the southern end of the Kostanai megasyncline, a north-northeast–trending, structurally controlled area of lower Paleozoic clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks and volcanic rocks. A zinc-lead resource estimated at 4,645,100 tonnes at 21.06 percent Zn has been defined.

The deposit is hosted within a sequence of intertidal to open-marine carbonates and evaporites of Viséan (Early Carboniferous) age. Although drilling to date has not intersected a fault, significant faulting in the area is suggested by the presence of polymict debris flows comprising a wide range of carbonate facies and by large variations in micropaleontologic dates. Sulfide deposits replaced hydrothermally dolomitized carbonates and were subsequently reworked into polymict conglomerates of probable Carboniferous age that were deposited in a marine environment.

Weathering of the sulfide mineral deposits took place during the Triassic Period, following uplift during the late Paleozoic. The weathering occurred in situ, and small intervals of relict sulfides were preserved in the center of the deposit. The degree of weathering increases outward from the center of the deposit, which passes from massive sulfide to massive hemimorphite-smithsonite to weathered clays with hemimorphite-smithsonite fragments. The supergene minerals are overlain by bauxitic clays of Cretaceous age and Quaternary silty soils and sands.

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