Rosh Pinah


Main commodities: Zn Pb Ag
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The Rosh Pinah Zn, Pb, Ag deposit is located in the Namib Desert of south western Namibia, in southern Africa.

It is basically a stratabound deposit, hosted by the Rosh Pinah Formation arkoses and quartzites, in the lower sections of the late Proterozoic to early Palaeozoic Gariep Complex, an equivalent of the Damaran Supergroup. In this area the basement to the Gariep Complex is made up of Richtersveld Sub-province (Vioolsdrif Terrane) igneous rocks of the Namaqualand Metamorphic Complex.

The type section of the Rosh Pinah Formation, which forms the base of the Gariep Complex, comprises a thin basal mixtite/conglomerate overlain by a thin unit of mafic volcanics. These are succeeded by thicker felsite and rhyolite lavas, pyroclastics and epiclastics, followed by a thin dark argillitic arkose, more felsic volcanics and then the main thick sequence of arkoses, comprising arkose, graded quartzite, argillite and dolomite. A further felsic volcanic unit is found near the top of these arkoses. These rocks of the Rosh Pinah Formation are overlain by further formations composed of limestones, conglomerates, grit, sandstone and argillite.

In the mine area the Rosh Pinah Formation is 1220m thick. The ore zone is in the lower sections of the Formation, underlain by at least 200m of quartzites. The ore occurs just below the dark argillitic arkose and felsites which occupy the middle and upper section of the formation.

The ore bed consists of a well banded to massive carbonaceous cherty zone or micro-quartzite, in places grading into an argillite; various carbonate bearing rocks; sugary quartzite; lenses and bands of massive mixed pyrite, sphalerite and galena; argillite and intercalations of generally poorly mineralised quartzite. The microquartzites are fine grained and dark due to their carbonaceous content. Barium rich carbonate is an important constituent in places. The lower sections of the ore bed are generally Zn rich micro-quartzite, overlain by further micro-quartzites or carbonates with a higher Pb:Zn ratio, while the hangingwall is another micro-quartzite grading to argillite. Most ore is within the micro-quartzites and seldom in the argillites.

The ore minerals are generally present as intergranular disseminations and discrete blebs associated with a fine grained sugary quartz-carbonate matrix, or as thin bands from 1 mm to a few cm's thick of massive sulphide. Irregular barite-carbonate or dolomite lenses are present in the central or lower part of the ore bed.

Massive sulphide bands may be up to a few metres thick in sections of the mine within micro-quartzites and occasionally argillites, and may grade laterally into disseminated ore within the micro-quartzites or carbonates.

In contrast to the hangingwall quartzite which is generally little fractured, the footwall quartzite is intensely fractured forming a breccia, which is silicified and carries sulphide and carbonate veining.

The ore deposit comprises a number of lenses distributed over an area of some 2 x 3 km, each of 150 000 t to 2 to 3 mt. The structure is variable with orebodies ranging from steeply dipping to flat to folded.

The operation is owned (in 2001) and managed by Iscor Limited Base Metals strategic business unit and lies near the southern border of Namibia with South Africa.

Production since 1969 has been 14.5 Mt @ 7% Zn, 2% Pb, 0.1% Cu, 11 g/t Ag. In 1999 proven and probable reserves were quoted at 6.59 Mt @ 8.7% Zn, 2.5% Pb, within a resource of 15 Mt @ 7.5% Zn, 2.2% Pb.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2001.    
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.

Rosh Pinah

  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Alchin D J and Moore J M,  2005 - A review of the Pan-African, Neoproterozoic Rosh Pinah Zn-Pb deposit, southwestern Namibia : in    S. Afr. J. Geol.   v108 pp 71-86
Alchin D J, Frimmel H E and Jacobs L E,  2005 - Stratigraphic setting of the metalliferous Rosh Pinah Formation and the Spitzkop and Koivib Suites in the Pan-African Gariep Belt, southwestern Namibia : in    S. Afr. J. Geol.   v108 pp 19-34
Anonymous  1999 - Namibia Base Metals - Rosh Pinah Has Secure Future: in    Mining in Southern Africa Quarterly, 1999, 1st Quarter    pp 19, 21
Frimmel H E and Board W S,  2000 - Fluid evolution in and around the Rosh Pinah massive sulphide deposit in the external Pan-African Gariep Belt, Namibia : in    S. Afr. J. Geol.   v103 pp 207-214
Frimmel H E and Lane K,  2005 - Geochemistry of carbonate beds in the Neoproterozoic Rosh Pinah Formation, Namibia: Implications on depositional setting and hydrothermal ore formation: in    S. Afr. J. Geol.   v108 pp 5-18
Frimmel H E, Jonasson I R, Mubita P,  2004 - An Eburnean base metal source for sediment-hosted zinc-lead deposits in Neoproterozoic units of Namibia: Lead isotopic and geochemical evidence: in    Mineralium Deposita   v39 pp 328 - 343
Hodgson C J  1979 - Wall Rock Alteration in the Area of the C Orebody, Rosh Pinah Mine, South West Africa/Namibia: in    Annual Report - Chamber of Mines Precambrian Research Unit   no.16 pp 108-112
Page D C, Watson M D  1976 - The Pb-Zn Deposit of Rosh Pinah Mine, South West Africa: in    Econ. Geol.   v71 pp 306-327
Rozendaal A, Stalder M and Alchin D,  2005 - Wall rock alteration and lithogeochemical haloes associated with the sediment-hosted Rosh Pinah Zn-Pb-Ag deposit in the Pan African Gariep Belt, southwestern Namibia : in    S. Afr. J. Geol.   v108 pp 119-134
van Vuuren C J J  1986 - Regional Setting and Structure of the Rosh Pinah Zinc-Lead Deposit, South West Africa/Namibia: in Anhaeusser C R, Maske S, (eds),  Mineral Deposits of Southern Africa Geol. Soc. of South Africa, Johannesburg   v2 pp 1593-1607

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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