Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 47–66 | Cite as

Mineralogical, textural, sulfur and lead isotope constraints on the origin of Ag-Pb-Zn mineralization at Bianjiadayuan, Inner Mongolia, NE China

  • Degao ZhaiEmail author
  • Jiajun Liu
  • Nigel J. Cook
  • Xilong Wang
  • Yongqiang Yang
  • Anli Zhang
  • Yingchun Jiao


The Bianjiadayuan Ag-Pb-Zn deposit (4.81 Mt. @157.4 g/t Ag and 3.94% Pb + Zn) is located in the Great Hinggan Range Pb-Zn-Ag-Cu-Mo-Sn-Fe polymetallic metallogenic belt, NE China. Vein type Pb-Zn-Ag ore bodies are primarily hosted by slate, adjacent to a Sn ± Cu ± Mo mineralized porphyry intrusion. The deposit is characterized by silver-rich ores with Ag grades up to 3000 g/t. Four primary paragenetic sequences are recognized: (I) arsenopyrite + pyrite + quartz, (II) main sulfide + quartz, (III) silver-bearing sulfosalt + quartz, and (IV) boulangerite + calcite. A subsequent supergene oxidation stage has also been identified. Hydrothermal alteration consists of an early episode of silicification, two intermediate episodes (propylitic and phyllic), and a late argillic episode. Silver mineralization primarily belongs to the late paragenetic sequence III. Freibergite is the dominant and most important Ag-mineral in the deposit. Detailed ore mineralogy of Bianjiadayuan freibergite reveals evidence of chemical heterogeneity down to the microscale. Silver-rich sulfosalts in the late paragenetic sequence III are largely derived from a series of retrograde and solid-state reactions that redistribute Ag via decomposition and exsolution during cooling, illustrating that documentation of post-mineralization processes is essential for understanding silver ore formation. Sulfur and lead isotope compositions of sulfides, and comparison with those of local various geological units, indicate that the ore-forming fluids, lead, and other metals have a magmatic origin, suggesting a close genetic association between the studied Ag-Pb-Zn veins and the local granitic intrusion. Fluid cooling coupled with decreases in fO2 and fS2 are the factors inferred to have led to a decrease of silver solubility in the hydrothermal fluid, and successively promoted extensive Ag deposition.


Freibergite Sulfur isotopes Lead isotopes Ag-Pb-Zn deposit Bianjiadayuan NE China 



We thank Ed Ripley and Ben Underwood (Indiana University, Bloomington) for the sulfur isotope analyses, Chusi Li (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Zhenyu Chen (CAGS) for the EPMA analyses, and Dongjie Tang (CUGB) for the FESEM analyses. This research was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 41672068, 41272110), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant 2652015045), the Open Research Funds for GPMR (Grant GPMR201513), and the Chinese “111” project (Grant B07011). Dr. Anthony E. Williams-Jones is thanked for final reading this paper. We thank Paul Spry and Antoine De Haller for their critical reviews, which considerably improved this paper. Associate Editor Robert Moritz and Editor-in-Chief Georges Beaudoin are thanked for their editorial help and useful suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Degao Zhai
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jiajun Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nigel J. Cook
    • 3
  • Xilong Wang
    • 4
  • Yongqiang Yang
    • 1
  • Anli Zhang
    • 5
  • Yingchun Jiao
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Earth Sciences and ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Earthquake Administration of Liaoning ProvinceShenyangChina
  5. 5.Lituo Mining CompanyChifengChina

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