Queensland, Qld, Australia

Main commodities: Zn Pb Ag
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The Cannington lead - zinc - silver deposit is located 135 km SSE of Cloncurry, 200 km south-east of Mt Isa and 750 km west of Townsville in north-west Queensland (#Location: 21° 52' 9"S, 140° 55' 23"E).

The Cannington deposit occurs in the south eastern corner of the Mt Isa Inlier, to the east of the Cloncurry Overthrust, within the Eastern Fold Belt. The hosts belong to the strongly metamorphosed 1677±9 Ma Fullarton River Group, which have been extensively intruded by the 1560 to 1480 Ma granitoids. The deposit is overlain by 10 to 60 m of Cretaceous and more recent overburden, and was discovered as result of an aeromagnetic survey which identified a sharp magnetic high.

The deposit is hosted by a sequence of garnetiferous psammite within a migmatitic quartzo-feldspathic gneiss terrain. The sequence strikes north-south and is bounded by two major NNW trending structures, the Hamilton and Trepell Faults to the SW and NE respectively, and is cut by similar intervening faults. Four periods of deformation are recognised. The host migmatite gneiss contains intercalated bands of fine grained schistose biotite-sillimanite-quartz bands and pegmatitic quartz-feldspar, while a thick sequence of quartz-garnet-sillimanite and foliated garnet psammite (almandine) is developed in the hanging wall.

Mineralisation is crudely stratabound, occurring along the limbs of a large-scale, tight, recumbent D2 isoclinal synform with an easterly dip and a southerly plunge. The core of the synform is composed of amphibolites with encompassing silver-lead-zinc sulphide mineralisation. It is divided by faulting into a shallow, low-grade Northern Zone and a deeper, higher grade Southern Zone.

Within the Southern Zone, the isoclinal synform appears to control broad repetition patterns between ore lenses. Grade distribution within individual ore zones can also be related to zones of ductile strain and metasomatism influenced by strain partitioning around the termination of the Core Amphibolite. Within this Southern Zone, five main economic lode horizons and nine mineralisation types have been recognised. The mineralisation types are defined on the basis of distinctive zonations in Pb/Zn ratios, and Fe-rich versus siliceous gangue lithologies. The Fe-rich mineralisation types are characterised by coarse-grained, equigranular hedenbergite, Mn-Fe pyroxenoid, magnetite, olivine and fluorite mineralogies. Zones of extensive post-peak metamorphic metasomatism and retrogression contain assemblages of amphibole, almandine, ilvaite and pyrosmalite-dominant mineralogies with sulphide- and fluorite-rich ductile breccias. The siliceous mineralisation types represent late-stage metasomatism, with further modification of the mineralisation and retrogression of Fe silicates. These siliceous types have a distinctive low abundance of magnetite and fluorite (Walters and Bailey, 1998). Gangue minerals include pyroxmangite, manganese-fayalite, fluorapatite, fluorite and hedenbergite in the mafic associations, and blue-quartz, feldspar and carbonate in the siliceous lodes.

Dominant sulphides are galena and sphalerite, with multiple generations and variable intergrowth relationships. Subordinate magnetite-pyrrhotite with minor marcasite and arsenopyrite-lollingite-chalcopyrite are characteristic of the Fe-rich mineralisation types. Pyrite is generally absent and is only locally associated with late structural and low-temperature metasomatic overprints. All of the mineralisation types in the Cannington deposit show a consistent extreme Ag enrichment, occurring as argentiferous galena with freibergite inclusions. High levels of Sb, Cd, As, Cu and F are also a feature of specific mineralisation types. Magnetite is found in some lodes (Walters and Bailey, 1998).

The total resource in May 2007 (Bailey, 1998) comprised - 43.8 Mt @ 11.6% Pb, 4.4% Zn, 538 g/t Ag.
Production in 2003-04 totalled 64 183 tonnes of Zn, 263 305 tonnes Pb and 1206.364 tonnes Ag.

Reserve and resource figures as at 30 June 2007, published by BHP Billiton (2008) include:
    Total measured + indicated + inferred resource - 44 Mt @ 383 g/t Ag, 8.9% Pb, 4.2% Zn, including
    Total proved + probable reserve - 22 Mt @ 402 g/t Ag, 9.3% Pb, 4.1% Zn.

Remaining JORC compliant mineral resources as at 30 June 2015, published by South32 (2015) include:
    Measured resource - 47 Mt @ 201 g/t Ag, 5.53% Pb, 3.66% Zn,
    Indicated resource - 14 Mt @ 127 g/t Ag, 3.91% Pb, 2.81% Zn,
    Inferred resource - 10 Mt @ 82 g/t Ag, 3.00% Pb, 1.95% Zn,
  Total underground resource - 71 Mt @ 170 g/t Ag, 4.86% Pb, 3.26% Zn, including
  Open pit
    Measured resource - 13 Mt @ 90 g/t Ag, 3.66% Pb, 2.21% Zn,
    Indicated resource - 7.9 Mt @ 58 g/t Ag, 2.51% Pb, 1.83% Zn,
  Total open pit resource - 20.9 Mt @ 78 g/t Ag, 3.23% Pb, 2.07% Zn.

The mine was originally operated by BHP Billiton, but was included in the South32 demerger from BHP Billiton in 2015.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2001.     Record last updated: 9/1/2017
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.


  References & Additional Information
 References to this deposit in the PGC Literature Collection:
Bailey A  1998 - Cannington silver-lead-zinc deposit: in Berkman D A, Mackenzie D H (Eds),  Geology of Australian and Papua New Guinean Mineral Deposits The AusIMM, Melbourne    pp 783-792
Bodon S B  1998 - Paragenetic relationships and their implications for ore genesis at the Cannington Ag-Pb-Zn deposit, Mount Isa Inlier, Queensland, Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v93 pp 1463-1488
Chapman L H, Williams P J  1998 - Evolution of Pyroxene-Pyroxenoid-Garnet alteration at the Cannington Ag-Pb-Zn deposit, Cloncurry district, Queensland, Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v93 pp 1390-1405
Derrick G M  1996 - The geophysical approach to metallogeny of the Mt Isa Inlier - what sort of orebody do you want: in    Proc The AusIMM Annual Conference, Perth, 24-28 March, 1996 The AusIMM, Melbourne    pp 349-366
Foster D R W and Austin J R,  2008 - The 1800-1610 Ma stratigraphic and magmatic history of the Eastern Succession, Mount Isa Inlier, and correlations with adjacent Paleoproterozoic terranes: in    Precambrian Research   v.163 pp. 730
Giles D, Nutman A P  2003 - SHRIMP U-Pb zircon dating of the host rocks of the Cannington Ag-Pb-Zn deposit, southeastern Mt Isa Block, Australia: in    Australian J. of Earth Sciences   v50 pp 295-309
Leach D L, Bradley D C, Huston D, Pisarevsky S A, Taylor R D and Gardoll S J,  2010 - Sediment-Hosted Lead-Zinc Deposits in Earth History : in    Econ. Geol.   v.105 pp. 593-625
Roache T J,  2004 - Shear zone versus fold geometries at the Cannington Ag-Pb-Zn deposit: implications for the genesis of BHT deposits: in    J. of Structural Geology   v26 pp 1215-1230
Walters S, Bailey A  1998 - Geology and mineralization of the Cannington Ag-Pb-Zn deposit: an example of Broken Hill-type mineralization in the Eastern Succession, Mount Isa Inlier, Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v93 pp 1307-1329

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