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Geochemistry and petrology of the indium-bearing polymetallic skarn ores at Pitkäranta, Ladoga Karelia, Russia


The historic mining district of Pitkäranta in the Ladoga region, Fennoscandian Shield, was exploited for Fe, Cu, Zn, Pb, Sn and Ag in the nineteenth to twentieth centuries. The Pitkäranta region is dominated by Palaeoproterozoic supracrustal rocks, which, together with gneissic Archaean dome structures, constitute an allochthonous terrane complex that amalgamated to the Archaean continent during the Svecokarelian orogeny at 1.9–1.8 Ga. This crustal complex was intruded by 1.8 Ga Late orogenic granites, 1.54 Ga anorogenic rapakivi granites and 1.45 Ga dolerites. The polymetallic skarn ores of Pitkäranta extend over a 25-km-long zone in Palaeoproterozoic supracrustal rocks and formed from hydrothermal solutions, which emanated from the anorogenic rapakivi granites and reacted with marble layers. Four major ore types are recognised after the dominating metal: Fe, Cu, Sn and Zn, respectively. These types are not restricted to individual mines or mine fields but represent end members in zonation patterns within each ore body. Pitkäranta was the second discovery site in the world for indium but has been without modern documentation for more than 75 years. The indium contents in the ores are up to 600 ppm, in most cases sphalerite-hosted. The only roquesite-bearing sample in this study had an indium grade of 291 ppm and an In/Zn ratio of 51 (close to the criteria for the limiting conditions for creating an In-rich mineral). The Pitkäranta ores have a potential for future small-scale exploitation, but all such plans are hampered by high contents if Bi, Cd and As.

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Financial support for these investigations was received from the K.H. Renlund Foundation as well as University of Turku Graduate School—Doctoral Programme in Biology, Geography and Geology. The authors wish to thank Oleg Lavrov for enthusiastic assistance in the field work and Arto Peltola for technical support in the laboratory. We also wish to acknowledge the reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to M. Valkama.

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Editorial handling: T. Wagner

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Table 1

Historic records of metal production from the Pitkäranta mines (compiled from Erämetsä 1938, Palmunen 1939, Khazov 1973, Puustinen 2003). The indium data were produced by Erämetsä (1938) with an average of eight samples for the Toivo deposit and an average of 54 samples for the Klee VI deposit (excluding samples from the wall rock and the sample with erroneous value of 5000 ppm In, cf. Discussion). Mineral abbreviations used in table; apy = arsenopyrite, bn = bornite, cct = chalcocite, ccp = chalcopyrite, cst = cassiterite, cv = covellite, fl = fluorite, gn = galena, gr = graphite, hem = hematite, mag = magnetite, mol = molybdenite, po = pyrrhotite, py = pyrite, sch = scheelite and sp = sphalerite. (XLSX 14.2 kb)

Table 2

Geochemical summary of the Pitkäranta ores. Coordinates are based on Finnish grid system zone IV. OMF = Old Mine Field, HOP = Hopunvaara, HBZ = Herberz, LUP = Lupikko, KEL = Kelivaara, HEP = Heposelkä. Data for samples SWAS 140A, 140B and 140C were generated from separate pieces of one and the same sample. Data for XK-1 968/08 and SWAS 141 were also generated from two separate pieces of the same rock sample. (XLS 79.5 kb)

Table 3

Observed minerals and their abundance in the studied samples. * = accessory, ** = moderately common, ***= dominant ore mineral. (XLSX 74.4 kb)

Table 4

Microprobe data for the unnamed Cu-Ag-Fe-S phase and chalcopyrite in sample SWAS 129. (XLSX 14.8 kb)

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Valkama, M., Sundblad, K., Cook, N.J. et al. Geochemistry and petrology of the indium-bearing polymetallic skarn ores at Pitkäranta, Ladoga Karelia, Russia. Miner Deposita 51, 823–839 (2016).

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  • Pitkäranta
  • Polymetallic
  • Indium
  • Skarn
  • Ore
  • Rapakivi