Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 311–322 | Cite as

Multiple episodes of mineralization revealed by Re-Os molybdenite geochronology in the Lala Fe-Cu deposit, SW China

  • Zhimin Zhu
  • Hongqi Tan
  • Yingdong Liu
  • Chao Li


The Lala Fe-Cu deposit is one of the largest iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) deposits in the Kangdian copper belt, southwest China. The paragenetic sequence of the Lala deposit includes six hydrothermal stages: pre-ore pervasive Na alteration (I); magnetite stage with K-feldspar and apatite (II); polymetallic disseminated/massive magnetite-sulfide stage (III); banded magnetite-sulfide stage (IV); sulfide vein stage (V); and late quartz-carbonate vein stage (VI). Fifteen molybdenite separates from stages III to VI were analyzed for Re-Os dating. Our new Re-Os data, together with previous studies, identify four distinct hydrothermal events at the Lala deposit. Molybdenite from the stage III disseminated to massive chalcopyrite-magnetite ores yielded a weighted average Re-Os age of 1306 ± 8 Ma (MSWD = 1.1, n = 6) which represents the timing of main ore formation. Molybdenite from the stage IV-banded magnetite-chalcopyrite ores yielded a weighted average Re-Os age of 1086 ± 8 Ma (MSWD = 2.2, n = 7), i.e., a second ore-forming event. Molybdenite from the stage V sulfide veins yielded a weighted average Re-Os age of 988 ± 8 Ma (MSWD = 1.3, n = 7) which represents the timing of a third hydrothermal event. Molybdenite from the quartz-carbonate veins (stage VI) yielded a weighted average Re-Os age at 835 ± 4 Ma (MSWD = 0.66, n = 10) and documented the timing of a late hydrothermal event. Our results indicate that the Lala deposit formed during multiple, protracted mineralization events over several hundred million years. The first three Mesoproterozoic mineralization events are coeval with intra-continental rifting (breakup of the supercontinent Nuna) and share a temporal link to other IOCG-style deposits within the Kangdian Copper Belt, and the last Neoproterozoic hydrothermal event is coeval with the Sibao orogeny which culminated with the amalgamation of the Yangtze Block with the Cathaysia Block at 860–815 Ma.


Fe oxide-Cu-Au deposit Multiple episodes of mineralization Molybdenite Re-Os dating Lala deposit 



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41102044) and Sichuan Youth Science & Technology Foundation of China (2012JQ0026). We thank the Lala copper mining staff, especially Huaijun Zhao and Fuquan Liu for the assistance in the field. We also thank Dr. Wei Chen for sharing the photograph of banded Cu-Mo ore and Dr. Yang Li, Dr. Rongqing Zhang, and Dr. Kongyang Zhu for the help with the preparation of this manuscript. We are grateful to Chris Lawley and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive and incisive comments, which substantially improved the presentation of this paper. Finally, Prof. Bernd Lehmann is gratefully acknowledged for his editorial handling.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Multipurpose Utilization of Mineral ResourcesChinese Academy of Geological SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.National Research Center for GeoanalysisChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina

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