Cerro Matoso


Main commodities: Ni
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The Cerro Matoso lateritic nickel deposit in Colombia is located some 20 km to the south-west of the town of Montelibano in the Department of Cordoba on the western side of the Andes, and approximately 400 km north of the capital Bogota (#Location: 7° 54' 5"N, 75° 33' 10"W).

The ore deposit takes the form of a layered blanket on a 2500 x 1700 m oval shaped hill that rises some 200 m above the surrounding countryside. The thickness of the ore varies from a few up to more than 100 m. The lateritic profile is as folllows, from the surface to the bedrock:

i). Canga - up to more than 20 m thick, comprising a hard ferruginous crust of lateritic soil cemented by hydrated iron oxide covering a large aprt of the deposit, and having a low Ni content;
ii). Laterite - comprising an amorphous, reddish-brown, soft soil made up of hydrated iron and aluminium oxides, with generally <1.5% Ni;
iii). Saprolite - partially weathered clays that retain the texture and appearance of the peridotite bedrock. Two types of saprolite are recognised, namely a). a brown coloured variety, and b). a green variety which has a higher Ni content and ferrous:ferric iron ratio, found below the canga capping. Overall the saprolite averages >3% Ni;
iv). Saprolitised peridotite - composed of fractured bedrock with soft, enriched weathered margins to the fractures and joint planes, sometimes containing garnierite;
v). Silica boxwork - occuring a veins of chalcedony and quartz on fractures within the peridotite bedrock - essentially barren at surface, but reaching ore grade in the lower sections of the deposit.

The original peridotite had a high magnesia and silica content, with the balance being predominantly iron and 0.2 to 0.3% nickel. Magnesia, silica and nickelwere dissolved during weathering and re-deposited lower in the weathering profile, while iron and aluminium remained near the surface as relatively insoluble hydrated oxides. Nickel maxima in the profile correspondes to a zone of 15 to 25% MgO. The ore comprises a zone of saprolite and saprolitised peridotite. The footwall is un-weathered peridotite.

In 1999 proven + probable reserves were more than 35 Mt @ 2.3% Ni using a 1.5% Ni cut-off,
      and up to 60 Mt at a 1% Ni cutoff.
In 2006 the proven + probable reserves were 43 Mt @ 2.3% Ni.
At 30 June, 2012, proven + probable reserves (including stckpiled ore) were: 91 Mt @ 1.2% Ni,
  included within
measure+indicated+inferred laterite resources of: 319 Mt @ 0.9% Ni, + stockpiles of 43 Mt @ 1.2% Ni.

It is one of the highest grade lateritic nickel deposits in the world.

The mine and ferro-nickel plant are operated by Cerro Matoso S.A., a subsidiary of BHP Billiton.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2000.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.

Cerro Matoso

  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Gleeson SA, Herrington RJ, Durango J, Velasquez CA and Koll G  2004 - The Mineralogy and Geochemistry of the Cerro Matoso S.A. Ni Laterite Deposit, MontelÝbano, Colombia: in    Econ. Geol.   v99 pp 1197-1213
Gomez R, Ogryzlo C T, Dor A A,  1979 - The Cerro Matoso Nickel Project: in Evans D J I, Shoemaker R S, Veltman H (Eds), 1979 International Laterite Symposium, New Orleans, Louisiana, Feb, 19 to 21, 1979 Soc Mining Engineers, of the AIMM&PE, New York    pp 412-458
Robertson R R,  1985 - Colombias Cerro Matoso: in    E&MJ May 1985   v186, No. 5 pp 18-22

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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