Identification of Zn-Bearing Micas and Clays from the Cristal and Mina Grande Zinc Deposits (Bongará Province, Amazonas Region, Northern Peru)
Giuseppe Arfè, Nicola Mondillo, Giuseppina Balassone, Maria Boni, Piergiulio Cappelletti, Tommaso Di Palma
Minerals (2017), 7, 214, 17 pp.
Zn-bearing phyllosilicates are common minerals in nonsulfide Zn deposits, but they seldom represent the prevailing economic species. However, even though the presence of Zn-bearing clays is considered as a disadvantage in mineral processing, their characteristics can give crucial information on the genesis of the oxidized mineralization. This research has been carried out on the Mina Grande and Cristal Zn-sulfide/nonsulfide deposits, which occur in the Bongará district (Northern Peru). In both deposits, Zn-bearing micas and clays occur as an accessory to the ore minerals. The XRD analyses and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) investigations revealed that the Zn-bearing micas that are occurring in both deposits mostly consist of I/S mixed layers of detrital origin, which have been partly altered or overprinted by sauconite during the supergene alteration of sulfides. Sporadic hendricksite was also identified in the Cristal nonsulfide mineral assemblage, whereas at Mina Grande, the fraipontite-zaccagnaite (3R-polytype) association was detected. The identified zaccagnaite polytype suggests that both fraipontite and zaccagnaite are genetically related to weathering processes. The hendricksite detected at Cristal is a product of hydrothermal alteration, which is formed during the emplacement of sulfides. The complex nature of the identified phyllosilicates may be considered as evidence of the multiple processes (hydrothermal and supergene) that occurred in the Bongará district.