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Central African Copperbelt - Zambian Copperbelt

Zambia

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Deposit Description

The Zambian Copperbelt is part of the larger Central African Copperbelt, and extends north into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to continue as the Congolese Copperbelt. It closely coincides with a complex, arcuate structural zone, the Lufilian Arc, which trends from NW-SE to east-west, concave to the SW. This arcuate structure is developed normal to, and near the northeastern extremity of the elongate, 2000 km long, NE-SW trending, Damaran-Katangan belt of Meso- to Neoproterozoic sedimentary rocks that extends across the continent to the Atlantic Ocean to the SW.

Regional Setting

The ~800 km long Lufilian Arc is developed within the Katangan fold belt in western Zambia, separating and lapping onto the Kalahari and Congo cratons of central and southern Africa respectively. It is one of a number of similar Pan-African fold belts (West Congo, Damaran, Katangan and Zambezi) that fringe and/or separate these two cratons, and which may be interconnected below intervening Phanerozoic cover. The Kalahari and Congo cratons are composites of earlier Archaean nuclei (e.g., the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe cratons within the former) and Palaeo- and Mesoproterozoic elements amalgamated during the assembly of Rodinia. The oldest basement rocks exposed as inliers within, and marginal to the Lufilian Arc, comprise a Palaeoproterozoic, Eburnian (~2.05 to 1.85 Ga) calc-alkaline magmatic arc sequence of metasedimentary, metavolcanic and intrusive granitoid rocks of the Lufubu Metamorphic Complex (Rainaud et al., 2005; Selley et al., 2005). These rocks are part of the larger north-south to northwest-trending Ubendian magmatic arc, mainly underlying the Lufilian Arc in the east (Petters, 1986), particularly in the Kafue Anticline and Bangweulu Block. Within the Zambian Copperbelt, these are unconformably overlain by a ~1.3 to 1.1 Ga supracrustal sequence of quartzite and metapelite, the Muva Group (Selley et al., 2005).

The Archaean to early Palaeoproterozoic basement rocks of the Kalahari and Congo craton are separated from the Neoproterozoic sequence of the Lufilian Arc by the Mesoproterozoic Kibaran and Irumide successions respectively. These rocks represent the extensive, generally northeast-trending, Kibaran mobile belt. They comprise thick (>10 km) sequences of variously metamorphosed conglomerates, sandstones, shales with lesser dolerite flows, and overlying graphitic shales, stromatolitic limestones and dolostones. Deposition in a rift-setting commenced at ~1.4 Ga, in response to extension caused by the impending breakup or Nuna/Columbia. Two main styles of granitoid intrusion are recognised, syn- and post-orogenic phases at ~1.3 to 1.25 and 1.2 to 0.95 Ga respectively. The syn-orogenic gneissic to un-metamorphosed granitoids accompanied compression and basin inversion, while those of post-orogenic origin are alkaline (Petters, 1986 and sources quoted therein).
Location
In each of the Pan-African mobile belts of southern Africa, a ~200 m.y. period of tectonic quiescence followed the assembly of Rodinia, before extension and Neoproterozoic sedimentation heralded the commencement of its breakup. In the Lufilian Arc, the resultant 4 to 10 km thick, Katanga Supergroup (~880 to ~600 Ma) comprises an initial sequence of coarse grained, fluvial conglomerates and sandstones, dominantly siliciclastics, devoid of volcanic activity, deposited within relatively restricted, fault controlled intracontinental rift basins.
   In Zambia, these rift basins flanked a NW-SE trending basement high, now reflected by the younger Kafue Anticline, and are represented by the Mindola Clastics Formation, a variable sequence from 0 to 1300 m thick, most commonly up to ~150 to 240 m, composed of an oxidised suite of interbedded conglomerates, arenites, quartzites and lesser argillites. At the main deposits of the Zambian Copperbelt, it represents the footwall sequence, and contains basal conglomerate that varies from thin developments a few tens of metres, up to ~240 to 300 m thick, to near 1200 m on the northern margin of the Kafue Antilcine, east of Konkola and Nchanga (although the latter may in part be due to structural repetition). This conglomerate is overlain by an arenite/quartzite unit, with rare argillites, and some conglomerate interbeds, particularly near the upper transitional contact, that similarly varies from a few tens of metres to as much as 300 m in thickness. These are followed by another conglomerate that is a few to a few tens of metres thick, then a further arenite/quartzite of similar thickness, and a final footwall conglomerate that is only a few metres thick. Locally at Nchanga, the upper two conglomerates and intervening arenite are absent. On the eastern margin of the Kafue Anticline, the Mindola Clastics Formation equivalentprimarily comprises a 0 to 150 m thick sequence, commencing with a thin basal conglomerate, overlain by a succession of quartzite and grits.
   These depositional centres were subsequently linked along master faults, marking a transgression, reflected by the deposition of local finer facies of the Copperbelt Orebody Member, the basal unit of the Kitwe Formation. The Copperbelt Orebody Member (or "Ore Shale") represents the culmination of early rift-stage extension and the first marine incursion within the Katangan basin in the Zambian Copperbelt. It comprises coarse and fine siliciclastic sedimentary rocks, representing fluctuating emergent and subaqueous conditions. The unit varies from 0 to as much as 60 m, more commonly 15 to 35 m thick, and frequently commences with a basal band of dolomitic schist, representing a décollement. It comprises carbonaceous and/or dolomitic siltstones, argillites, thin dolostones and fine sandstones, and hosts the bulk of the ore in the main large deposits of the Zambian Copperbelt (e.g., Luanshaya, Nkana, Mindola, Chambishi and Konkola), although a number of smaller deposits (e.g., Chibuluma, Fitula and Mimbula) are hosted by the Mindola Clastics Formation.
   The remainder of the Kitwe Formation varies from <100 to >300 m in thickness, and at most localities commences with a quartzite to arkose unit, which may be locally absent (e.g., Nkana). It is followed by a finer unit that varies from argillite to dolomitic argillite or sandstone, to dolostone and dolomitic schist, that varies from a few to 160 m thick, culminating in a generally 10 to 30 m dolostone band. These are succeeded by a thick (up to 160 m) of feldspathic and dolomitic sandstones, interbedded with coarse grained calcareous sandstones to grit. At Nchanga, the ore extends upward into the sequence above the Copperbelt Orebody Member, with much of the ore within feldspathic quartzite of the "hanging wall", capped by a shale interbed.
   The Mindola Clastics and Kitwe Formations, together, comprise the Lower Roan Subgroup. The upper two units of the Kitwe Formation (dolostone and calcareous sandstones to grit) were included into the Upper Roan Subgroup by earlier authors (e.g., Mendelsohn, 1961), although the Lower to Upper Roan Subgroup boundary has been shifted to the base of the Upper Roan Dolomite unit in more recent papers (e.g., Binda and Mulgrew, 1974).
   Significant authigenic anhydrite is found in the Lower Roan Subgroup, in particular within the upper Mindola Clastics and lower Kitwe formations. Narrow evaporite units are also indicated by local breccias and porous units in both formations (e.g., within the Basal Quartzite at Nkana, and the Hangingwall Aquifer at Kirila Bombwe/Konkola).

The succeeding post-rift, thermal sag phase, produced the laterally more extensive platformal sequence of the Upper Roan Subgroup, comprising laterally extensive mixed shallow marine carbonates and generally finer grained siliciclastic rocks with abundant evaporitic textures and mainly stratabound chaotic breccia (interpreted to represent the dissolution of evaporites). The sequence varies considerably in thickness, from <30 to 800 m, and is characterised by metre-scale, laterally extensive cycles of upward-fining, sandstone, siltstone, dolomite, algal dolomite and local anhydrite. The breccias are usually composed of rounded to angular, mm to metre sized polylithic intraformational clasts, set in a crystalline matrix of carbonate, albite, quartz, anhydrite and or magnesian chlorite. The breccias may be single cm to metre thick bands, to stacked complexes, up to several hundred metres thick. In general they are stratabound, but on a larger scale, step down through the sequence to the south and west (Selley et al., 2005).

The Upper Roan Subgroup in Zambia is overlain across either a conformable transition, or an evaporite-facilitated breccia-detachment, by the (150 to 650 m thick Mwashya (or Mwashia) Subgroup, emplaced within a deepening marine setting. This sequence comprises a lower suite of reefal to intertidal clastic carbonate rocks, mainly arenitic dolostone with lesser argillaceous dolostone containing pseudomorph after anhydrite nodules, overlain by an upper succession of mainly carbonaceous shales, siltstones and lesser clastic carbonate rocks. The lower Mwashya is only poorly developed in Zambia, but in the DRC, where it is thicker, it is included in the upper Dipeta Subgroup as the Kansuki Formation (Cailteux et al., 2007). The Dipeta Subgroup is equivalent to the upper half of the Upper Roan Subgroup of Zambia (Cailteux et al., 2005; 2007; Hitzman et al., 2012).

A second period of rift extension is reflected by the local intrusion of large ~765 to 736 Ma gabbroic sills in Zambia (commonly within the Upper Roan Subgroup dolostones) and equivalent pyroclastic and extrusive rocks within Kansuki Formation rocks of the equivalent upper Dipeta Subgroup in the northern part of the Arc in the DRC (and possibly some A-type granitoids). This extension commenced during the deposition of late Upper Roan Subgroup, and continued through into the Mwashya and lower Nguba groups (~765-735 Ma).

The base of the overlying Nguba Group (previously Lower Kundelungu) is defined by the 10 to 1300 m thick Grand Conglomérat, a regional sequence of debris flows, glacial diamictites, some mafic flows and numerous iron formations, correlated with the world wide ~740 Ma Sturtian glacial event. The Grand Conglomérat is overlain by massive carbonate rocks of the Kakontwe Limestone represented by 350 to 500 m of massive dolostones and limestones in Zambia, and by a thinner sequence of carbonate-bearing to carbonate-poor siltstones and sandstones northward into the DRC, and appear to represent shallow marine to fluvial sediments. The remainder of the Nguba Group is composed of dolomitic sandstones and siltstones, also becoming progressively carbonate-poor and coarser to the north (Cailteux et al., 2007; Batumike et al., 2006, 2007).

To the north, mostly in the DRC, this succession is overlain by the Kundelungu Group, the base of which is defined by the Petit Conglomérat, a glacial diamictite, believed to be the time-equivalent to the global ~635 Ma Marinoan glacial event (Hoffmann et al., 2004; Master and Wendorff, 2011). The Petit Conglomérat is overlain by a weakly metamorphosed and deformed sequence that passes upwards from limestones and dolomitic sandstones (the 'Calcaire Rose', capping the diamictite), through dolomitic siltstones and argillites, to sandstones with lesser carbonate rocks. This sequence is, in turn, overlain by the extensive, flat lying, continental clastic molasse succession of the Plateaux Subgroup, composed of argillaceous and arkosic sandstones, and conglomerates (Cailteux et al., 2005; Batumike et al., 2006, 2007).

The equivalent Katanga Supergroup sequence in the Zambezi Belt to the south (hosting the Nampundwe Cu-pyrite deposit), includes a thick syn-rift, 879±19 Ma bimodal volcanic suite, which is earlier than the commencement of sedimentation in the Lufilian Arc, which is limited by the basement ~880 Ma Nchanga Red Granite. Small, but widespread developments of ~765 to 735 Ma mafic to intermediate magmatism, brackets the basal units of the Nguba Group, suggesting the main deposition may have ceased before 700 Ma (Selley et al., 2005, and sources cited therein).

Tectonic and Structural Setting

The main (late-Katangan) Lufilian Orogenesis appears to span a period of >100 m.y., with the oldest metamorphic ages of ~590 Ma, the main stage orogenesis from 560 to 530 Ma and widespread dates of 510 to 465 Ma possibly recording post-orogenic cooling (Selley et al., 2005, and sources cited therein). The Lufilian event culminated in peak greenschist-grade metamorphism at ~530 Ma. This orogenesis was the result of compressive basin inversion, which occurred throughout the Katangan and Damaran systems from southern DRC to the Atlantic Ocean. The late-tectonic composite Hook Granite, which cuts the Nguba Group, comprises an older, magnetically flat set of medium-grained biotite-hornblende granitoid intrusions, dated at 559±18 and 566±5 Ma in two samples. These are cut by numerous, younger microcline-biotite-hornblende megacrystic phases, reflected by donut-shaped magnetic anomalies with diameters of from <10 to 50 km, interpreted to represent anorogenic ring complex intrusions. Samples of these intrusions have been dated at 533±3 Ma (Hanson et al., 1993; Nisbet et al., 2000; Lobo-Guerrero, 2010).
Location
The Lufilian Arc comprises four distinct, north-convex, arcuate tectonic subdivisions, the:
i). External Fold and Thrust Belt to the northeast, mainly in the DRC (where it hosts the Congolese Copperbelt), characterised by thin-skinned thrust/nappe-dominated deformation, absence of exposed basement, low-grade metamorphism and repetition of the Katangan stratigraphy;
ii). Domes Region (which includes the Zambian Copperbelt in its outer margins), representing a thicker skinned deformation with upright folds, exposed basement domes (interpreted to represent culminations above thrust ramps), and upper-greenschist to upper-amphibolite facies metamorphism;
iii). Synclinorial Belt, where sediments are subjected to large scale folding during at least two deformation events, and low grade metamorphism, which it has been suggested, reflects a change from a marginal shelf in the north, to a deeper basin (Cosi et al., 1992; Porada and Berhorst, 2000); and
iv). Katanga High to the southwest, in which only the upper parts of the Katanga Supergroup and almost all of the outcropping granitic intrusions of the Lufilian Arc are exposed (Petters, 1986; Selley et al., 2005).

The northern margin of the Lufilian Arc is represented by the relatively undeformed top of the Upper Kundelungu Group, whereas the southern limit is defined by the major, east-west trending, sinistral Mwembeshi shear zone which separates it from the Zambezi Belt. Kinematics suggest northwest to northeast directed thrusting during the Late Neoproterozoic to Lower Cambrian basin inversion orogenesis, with displacement vectors radiating perpendicular to the arcuate trend of the fold belt (Selley et al., 2005). Porada and Berhorst (2000) and Kapunzu and Cailteux (1999) suggest the arcuate shape is the result of oblique compression during this event, between the northern margin of the Kalahari craton and the southwestern edge of the Congo craton.

Distribution of Mineralisation

The main Zambian Copperbelt deposits define two NW-SE trending parallel lines of Cu mineralisation some 20 km apart, separated by the Palaeoproterozoic basement gneisses, granitoids and schists, and Mesoproterozoic conglomerates, quartzites and granitoids that make up the Kafue Anticline, within the eastern Domes Region of the Lufilian Arc. The majority of the deposits are in the SW of the two lines of mineralisation. Each of these two belts is 5 to 20 km wide and up to 150 km long. Ore grade mineralisation, however, tends to occupy linear, often more structurally complex, semicontinuous bands, up to 2 to 3 km wide, and as much as 17 km long, on the SW limb, interrupted by narrow barren gaps and cross folded anticlinal basement ridges (e.g., the Nkana-Mindola, Nchanga and Konkola strings of deposits).
Location
Traditionally the ore deposits of the Zambian Copperbelt have been interpreted to lie within the Neoproterozoic Lower Roan Subgroup, composed principally of coarse siliciclastics (conglomerate to arkose and siltstone, with lesser carbonates). Some 65% of the mineralisation lies within a finer 0 to 100 m thick unit of generally carbonaceous argillites, carbonatic argillites and interbedded arenites (Copperbelt Orebody Member) within the coarser clastic succession. A further 25% lies within coarser footwall clastics and the remaining 10% within the coarse hanging wall clastics. Lithologically, 60% of the ore is hosted by argillites, and 40% in arkose, quartzites and conglomerates.

The Lower Roan is overlain by Neoproterozoic carbonates of the Upper Roan (up to 600 m thick) which hosts most of the deposits of the Central African Copperbelt in the External Fold and Thrust Belt in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Within the two belts of deposits that make up the main Zambian Copperbelt, there are some 6 major and >25 minor stratabound deposits. The major deposits are Luanshya-Baluba, Mufulira, Nkana-Mindola, Nchanga-Chingola, Chambishi and Konkola-Lubambe. The larger orebodies had production + resources that range from 90 to 1000 Mt @ 2.4 to 3.6% Cu. Between 1930 and 1987 some 24 Mt of copper metal was produced from 1.07 Gt of ore averaging 2.71% Cu. The total mined ore plus reserves/resources has been calculated at 3 Gt @ 2.9% Cu.
Zambian Copperbelt
More recent operations to the west of the established Copperbelt, located in the Domes Region, include Lumwana and Kansanshi, which in 2013 were the biggest copper producers in Africa, each with resources of 800 to 1000 Mt @ 0.5 to 0.7% Cu. These deposits have differences in the apparent mode of occurrence compared to the main copperbelt deposits fringing the Kafue Anticline. See the two overlapping images below for a geological summary of the Domes Regions and distribution of units described above. For more details of the local geology and the mineralisation styles, see the records for the Lumwana (Chimiwungo and Malundwe), Kansanshi, Enterprise and Sentinel deposits. Eastern Domes Region Western Domes Region

Mineralisation

Mineralisation within the major deposits 'flanking' the Kafue Anticline has the following characteristics:

i). The geometry, size and distribution of orebodies is closely linked to early fault-controlled sub-basin architecture. Basement faulting influenced facies distribution on basement margins, the formation of structural and stratigraphic culminations influencing fluid flow and entrapment, and may also have provided pathways for fluid ingress, e.g., most argillite hosted orebodies overlie anomalously condensed wedges of Mindola Clastics Formation, where the overlying Copperbelt Orebody Member is transgressive onto basement, coincident with fault related trough margins/basement highs. Many orebodies are also located at the intersection of basin bounding faults. In addition, footwall and hanging wall arenite hosted orebodies are frequently aligned along basin margin faults (Selley et al., 2005 and references cited therein).

ii). Deposits have a range of differing mineralisation styles and textures that occur together. The chief of these are:
   (a) Disseminated, generally fine-grained (<0.1 to 3 mm) sulphides within interstitial sites between detrital or authigenic grains, randomly distributed or aggregated to form bedding-parallel streaks and lenses. There is a correlation between the size of detrital and sulphide grains in this style of dissemination (Selley et al., 2005 and references cited therein). Sulphide may also occur replacing detrital grains and authigenic cements, including anhydrite, carbonate, quartz and feldspar, as well as diagenetic pyrite, anhydrite, carbonate, quartz, feldspar or heavy minerals such as rutile (Binda, 1975; Fleischer et al., 1976);
   (b) vein-hosted, which may occur as prefolding, layer-parallel and discordant veins or veinlets of sulphide, which have sharp contacts with argillaceous strata, and diffuse margins in arenites (Annels, 1989). Veining also occurs as late-tectonic, generally coarse-grained sulphide grains (commonly >0.5 to 3 cm) in quartz-carbonate (dolomite, calcite) veinlets and subordinate veins, which may also contain K-feldspar, chlorite, sericite, biotite, and, very locally, albite, tremolite, and below the zone of supergene dissolution, anhydrite. Veinlets are typically ~0.5 to 2 cm wide, but may locally be up to several tens of cm thick and extend for distances of several tens of metres or more, with densities of 1 to 5 per metre, following and stepping up through the stratigraphy. Veins also occupy tension gashes on a small scale and other structures at a high angle to bedding. Veins and veinlets can be particularly abundant at the tops and/or bottoms of the stratabound orebodies, commonly coinciding with rheologic contrasts and occupying shear zones and décollements at these locations. Veinlets often penetrate upwards from arenite hosted disseminated mineralisation into otherwise unmineralised, impermeable carbonaceous shales. Mineralised veins are restricted to zones of disseminated mineralisation, and contain the identical sulphide assemblages found within the enclosing disseminated mineralisation throughout the zoned sulphide assemblages (Hitzman et al., 2012, and references cited therein; Sillitoe et al., 2010). In addition to these Cu±Co vein systems, the Zambian Copperbelt contains volumetrically minor Cu-U-Mo-(Au)-(Ni) sulphide assemblages in post-folding veins with associated albite haloes, e.g., Mindola, which is the only known economic accumulation (Darnley et al., 1961). Generally sub-economic uranium occurs as late veins and local disseminations of pitchblende, uraninite, brannerite, coffinite and secondary oxide minerals below or adjacent to copper mineralisation (Selley et al., 2005).
   (c) oxide ores, usually gradationally overlying the hypogene ore, through a progression from primary sulphide (chalcopyrite-bornite-carrollite), through mixed oxide-sulphide (chalcocite-copper carbonate/sulphate-cuprite-native copper) to leached capping (usually ~3o m thick). The transition usually takes place over an interval of 30 to 70 m of the surface, although in some areas of deep faulting, malachite and chalcocite have been found to persist to depths of as much as 1 km at Konkola and >600 m at Nchanga Lower. As chalcocite generally occurs closest to the surface in the primary sulphide zonation, it is often difficult to differentiate between primary and supergene populations of the mineral (Selley et al., 2005).
   (d) cupriferous mica mineralisation, which occurs at a number of deposits as an upper and/or lower fringe to sulphide orebodies, but never laterally. At the Mimbula-Fitula deposits, cupriferous micas persist to a depth of up to 150 m, although the bulk is in the zone from near surface to a depth of 60 m. The cupriferous micas are brown to dark brown in colour, and are visually indistinguishable from unmineralised mica. Stockpiles of as much as 150 Mt @ 1.2% Cu have been accumulated at Chingola, and resources of in situ mineralisation and stockpiles at Nchanga are >275 Mt @ 1 to 1.4% Cu. The mineralisation is refractory. Copper is held in the mica lattices in the exchange position, tied largely to hydroxyl groups in interstratified phlogopite-cupriferous chlorite micas. Some copper is also absorbed on the surfaces of layered mineral structures. Under tropical or sub-tropical conditions of weathering, it has been shown that copper may be dissolved out of primary minerals, and where the adjacent rock is micaceous, Cu is 'soaked up' by the micas as it passes through the rock. Weathering of primary phlogopite causes exchanges of K ions by hydrated Cu and Mg ions, followed by chloritisation. The Cu content of this mineralisation ranges from 1 to 8% Cu (Diederix 1977).

iii). Prolonged, repeated, multiple stages of alteration are evident within the Zambian Copperbelt, ranging from diagenetic overgrowths, to post-metamorphic vein selvedges, reflecting the similarly prolonged history of Cu mineralisation. Three dominant alteration types are widespread throughout the Copperbelt, controlled partly by lithology and indicative of the large scale passage of basinal brines. These are:
   (a) Calcic-magnesian - an early diagenetic to early lithification, dominantly pre-ore, alteration suite, characterised by anhydrite, dolomite, calcite and later development of phlogopite. Anhydrite, dolomite and calcite are common throughout the Roan Group, occurring as coarsely crystalline anhydrite-dolomite beds, patchy to pervasive authigenic cements, replacive grains, nodules (up to several cm diameter) and as veins. These are most abundant within the Kitwe Formation and Upper Roan Subgroup, where they are probably of evaporitic origin. Widespread discordant and semiconcordant breccias within the Upper Roan Subgroup probably resulted from the dissolution of extensive halokinetic remobilised evaporites. However, anhydrite, dolomite and calcite are also present, mainly as authigenic cements, within non-evaporitic deltaic and shallow marine lithologies of the Lower Roan Subgroup, e.g., ±30% anhydrite filling pores within the Porous Conglomerate member and other arenites of the Mindola Clastics Formation, and quartz-dolomite-anhydrite veinlets in the lower Copperbelt Orebody Member argillites of the basal Kitwe Formation, and 20 to 30% anhydrite in the immediate lateral equivalents of the Mufulira deposit. The presence of this assemblage in the Lower Roan Subgroup, suggests diagenetic brine reflux, whereby dense Mg-Ca-SO4 brines, sourced from the overlying evaporitic Upper Roan Subgroup, sink to displace lighter fresh pore waters. There is a marked antithetic relationship between anhydrite and ore, which is taken to indicate that anhydrite may represent an in situ source of sulphur in ore minerals. Authigenic anhydrite nodules show progressive to total replacement by ore sulphides and gangue dolomite/carbonates (Hitzman et al., 2012; Selley et al., 2005; Sweeney and Binda, 1989; Annels, 1974). The widespread development of phlogopite (KMg3AlSi3O10(F,OH)2), particularly in argillites, is suggested by Selley et al. (2005) to represent later isochemical metamorphism of previously pervasively magnesian metasomatised rocks throughout the succession. Within the Upper Roan and Mwashya subgroups, and the lower Nguba Group, above the evaporite horizons, local significant albitisation and silicification accompanies the calcic-magnesian phase.
   (b) Potassic - characterised by K feldspar and sericite-muscovite. The feldspar content of detrital rocks within the Lower Roan Subgroup is virtually 100% potassic, at variance with the high sodic feldspar content of the source basement rocks. This and textural features of the rocks (e.g., the partial to total replacement of plagioclase detrital grains), are interpreted to be the result of intense K metasomatism of the Lower Roan Subgroup. Textures indicate multistage K feldspar replacement which took place from diagenesis (as pre-anhydrite-carbonate overgrowths) to orogenesis (vein-hosted K feldspar). Secondary K feldspar is a major gangue mineral in many Zambian Copperbelt deposits, typically intergrown with Cu-Co sulphides, particularly in argillite hosted deposits where sulphides and K feldspar are intergrown in coarse clots throughout the detrital network. In addition, there is a concomitant increase of the the K
2O:Al2O3 ratio and Cu within rocks of the Copperbelt Orebody Member. However, elevated K2O:Al2O3 ratios persist for hundreds of metres into the hanging wall of mineralisation and for kilometres laterally beyond the margins of ore (Selley et al., 2005). The formation of sericite, in close association with Cu-Co mineralisation, at the expense of K feldspar (and Ca-Mg-bearing minerals), is evident at a number of (but not all) deposits, particularly those hosted by arenites (e.g., Mufulira. This has been taken to reflect evolving conditions in the potassic environment, resulting from a more acid phase, possibly associated with H2S in sour gas within the sandstones, and/or generated from the reaction between Cu-bearing fluids and anhydrite. In these deposits, the sericite alteration is much more closely associated with the ore mineralisation. Sericite is also localised along faults and shear zones at a number of deposits (Selley et al., 2005).
   (c) Sodic - late-stage, structurally controlled alteration, usually as structurally controlled, vein-associated, albite and/or scapolite. Secondary albite alteration dominates in rocks above the evaporite horizons in the Upper Roan and Mwashya subgroups and the lower Nguba Group, but is relatively rare in the Lower Roan Subgroup, where it mainly occurs where the Upper Roan has stepped down to be juxtaposed with the Mindola Clastics Formation, in some 'footwall' arenite-hosted deposits, e.g., Chibuluma. Within the Zambian Copperbelt, sodic alteration is associated with late events, e.g., as a halo to discordant, post-folding, barren to sub-economic vein-fracture zones superimposed on the stratabound ore, as at Chambishi and Musoshi, but also as albite associated with an increase in economic mineralisation elsewhere in the same deposits, associated with shearing at the base of the Copperbelt Orebody Member. Albite is developed as a partial replacement of secondary K feldspar and sericite, and occurs both in equilibrium with, and overprinting, Cu-Co sulphides at different deposits. Some albite-sulphide veins are post-peak metamorphic, e.g., albite associated with quartz-dolomite-chalcopyrite veining at Kansanshi, dated at ~510 Ma (Selley et al., 2005; Torrealday et al. 2000).

iv). Mineralisation is closely associated with stratigraphic or structural redox boundaries, related to rocks that may have contained reductants, either in situ (e.g., dark/carbonaceous argillites to fine arenites) or mobile (e.g., sites that are geometrically favourable to the entrapment of liquid hydrocarbons or sour gas) that overlie coarse, permeable, oxidised arenites. These rocks acted both as a cap to fluid flow within the coarse clastic sediments and as a redox boundary and reductant, catalysing the release of Cu from oxidised fluids. Pyritic, carbonaceous rocks, with few exceptions, form a barren cap and or mark the lateral margins to ore, as well as in some cases a barren footwall. On the eastern margin of the Kafue Anticline, a thick carbonaceous arenite unit, occurs at the same stratigraphic portion as the Mufulira arenite hosted ore deposit, and forms the lateral gradational margin to mineralisation. The carbonaceous matter, which is finely disseminated throughout the sandstone, is interpreted to have originated as mobile hydrocarbons (Annels, 1979). It transgresses bedding and is continuous over a strike length of >16 km, capped by less permeable shale and dolomite. Throughout the Zambian Copperbelt, the most carbonaceous rocks within an ore horizon are commonly not economically mineralised, i.e., there is an antithetic relationship between carbonaceous rocks and ore. Also, where deposits occur in the stratigraphically lowermost reduced rocks (e.g., the Copperbelt Orebody Member), overlying reduced or favourable rocks (e.g., the Mwashya Subgroup) generally were not mineralised. Conversely, deposits within higher stratigraphic level reduced rocks (e.g., the Mwashya Subgroup) are found where no underlying reduced unit has been developed.

While there is evidence that the pyrite of the carbonaceous argillites were deposited during diagenesis, the inferred association with hydrocarbons would mean the copper sulphides (which overprint the pyrite) were emplaced post-diagenesis, after the deposit had been buried to several thousand metres depth. However, the mineralisation would have to be emplaced before the permeability of the host sequence was occluded by cements and orogenesis. If Sillitoe et al. (2010) are correct in their interpretation that most veining and disseminated ore are coeval, the Cu sulphides would have been emplaced after the hosts were sufficiently brittle to permit fracturing and vein formation. Many late veins were emplaced during or after the Lufilian orogenesis. Most datings of sulphides and ore-related minerals give Lufilian ages of 670 to 550 Ma, although an Re-Os determination of chalcopyrite from Musoshi, where Lufilian orogenesis is weak, yielded an age of 816±62 Ma. The range of dates, styles of mineralisation, textural evidence and the presence of ore in rocks younger than this earliest age, suggest mineralisation took place over a protracted period from late diagenesis to post orogenesis. Salinities of fluid inclusions from mineralisation over this period increase from 11 to 21 wt.% NaCl
equiv. and temperatures of 110 to 170°C from early mineralisation, to 21 to 38 wt.% NaCl equiv. and temperatures of 155 to 185°C, from folded veins cutting stratabound ore, while late ~500 Ma veins interpreted to be related to mineralisation at Musoshi yielded ~39 wt.% NaCl equiv. and temperatures of ~400°C. This trend indicates an increase in salinity and temperature with time (Selley et al., 2005 and references quoted therein).

The antithetic relationship between both carbonaceous material and anhydrite with copper sulphide mineralisation, suggests both were an integral part of the formation of ore. Mobile hydrocarbons within a hydrocarbon reservoir react with authigenic anhydrite cements (using methane as generic hydrocarbon), to produce H
2S (sour gas) in the first instance: CaSO4 + CH4 → CaCO3 + H2S + H2O. The second step involves interaction with a Cu-bearing brine, with a most likely chloride ligand, as follows: H2S + 2 CuCl → Cu2S + 2 HCl. In the event of a Cu-bearing brine reacting with in situ carbonaceous material and entrained authigenic anhydrite cements, the process becomes: CaSO4 + CH4 + 2 CuCl → Cu2S + 2 HCl + CaCO3 + H2S + H2O. However, the HCl produced breaks down the CaCO3 and reverses the process. But, where excess Fe, Mg or Mn ions are present within the brine, the HCl is neutralised and the process becomes: CaCO3 + (Mg/Fe/Mn) + HCl → CaCl + (Mg/Fe/Mn)CO3 + H2O (Orr 1974 and Irwin, et al., 1977). This process destroys both the anhydrite and carbonaceous matter, where ore is formed, and produces a gangue of dolomite, ankerite, siderite, etc. as is observed.

The source of sulphur would seem to be the Upper Roan Subgroup evaporite beds, which, based on the thickness of breccias that are thought to represent original evaporite beds, is calculated to have originally been ~500 m or less. The hydrocarbons are though to have been generated from the thicker Katangan and basement (Kibaran) sequence in the Synclinorial Belt to the SW. However, the potential copper metal source is less well understood. It has been calculated that the red beds of the basin are too thin to have generated the amount of Cu know within the Copperbelt. Similarly, the Mwashya gabbros could be a possible source, although Pb isotopes suggest an upper crustal source from the Palaeoproterozoic felsic basement, rather than a mantle origin. This assumes that the Pb, Cu and Co all had a common source which is not necessarily the case, as Pb and Zn are notably absent from most Copperbelt deposits (Selley et al., 2005 and references quoted therein).

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2012.     Record last updated: 19/8/2013
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 Service Collection: Want any of these papers ? Click Here
Annels A E  1989 - Ore Genesis in the Zambian Copperbelt, with Particular Reference to the Northern Sector of the Chambishi Basin: in Boyle R W, Brown A C, Jefferson C W, Jowett E C, Kirkham R V, (eds),  Sediment-hosted Stratiform Copper Deposits:  Geological Association of Canada   Special paper 36 pp 427-452
Annels A E  1979 - Mufulira Greywackes and Their Associated Sulphides: in    Trans. IMM, Section B   v88 pp B15-B23
Annels A E  1984 - The Geotectonic Environment of Zambian Copper-cobalt Mineralization: in    Journal of the Geological Society of London   v141 pp 279-289
Annels A E  1974 - Some Aspects of the Stratiform Ore Deposits of the Zambian Copperbelt and their Genetic Significance: in Bartholome P (Ed),  Gisements Stratiformes et Provinces Cupriferes: Societe Geologique de Belgique, Liege    pp 235-254
Annels A E, Vaughan D J, Craig J R  1983 - Conditions of Ore Mineral Formation in Certain Zambian Copperbelt deposits with Special Reference to the Role of Cobalt: in    Mineralium Deposita   v18 pp 71-88
Armstrong R A, Master S and Robb L J,  2005 - Geochronology of the Nchanga Granite, and constraints on the maximum age of the Katanga Supergroup, Zambian Copperbelt: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 32-40
Armstrong R A, Robb L J, Master S, Kruger F J, Mumba P A C C  1999 - New U-Pb age constraints on the Katangan Sequence, Central African Copperbelt: in    Journal of African Earth Sciences, Elsevier, Amsterdam   v28, no.4A pp 6-7
Brandt R T, Burton C C J, Maree S C, Woakes M E  1961 - Mufulira: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 411-461
Cailteux J L H, Kampunzu A B and Lerouge C,  2007 - The Neoproterozoic Mwashya-Kansuki sedimentary rock succession in the central African Copperbelt, its Cu-Co mineralisation, and regional correlations: in    Gondwana Research   v.11 pp. 414-431
Cailteux J L H, Kampunzu A B, Lerouge C, Kaputo A K and Milesi J P,  2005 - Genesis of sediment-hosted stratiform copper-cobalt deposits, Central African Copperbelt: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 134-158
Daly M C, Chakraborty S K, Kasolo P, Musiwa M, Mumba P. Naidu B, Namateba C, Ngambi O, Coward M P  1984 - The Lufilian Arc and Irumide Belt of Zambia, Results of a Geotraverse across their Intersection: in    Journal of African Earth Sciences, Elsevier, Amsterdam   v2, no.4 pp 311-318
Darnley A G  1960 - Petrology of Some Rhodesian Copperbelt Orebodies and Associated Rocks: in    Transactions of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy   v69 pp 137-173
Ellis M W, Austen A L, Garlick W G, Gane P G, Cornwall F W  1961 - Exploration: in Mendelsohn F (ed),   Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 166-212
Fleischer V D  1984 - Discovery, Geology and Genesis of Copper-cobalt Mineralisation at Chambishi Southeast Prospect, Zambia: in    Precambrian Research    v25, no.1-3 pp 119-133
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt - (Excerpt on Genesis): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 323-352
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Exerpt covering Chambishi): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 249-256
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Exerpt covering Roan Antelope and Baluba): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 285-297
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt - Mufulira Mine, Zambia (Exerpt on Mufulira only): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 304-323
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Exerpt covering Nkana): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 275-285
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Excerpt covering Konkola and Musoshi): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 244-249
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Excerpt covering the geology only): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 223-243
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G, Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Exerpt covering Chibuluma and Chibuluma West): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 298-304
Fleischer V D, Garlick W G,and Haldane R  1976 - Geology of the Zambian Copperbelt (Exerpt by Garlick and Haldane covering Nchanga): in Wolf K H, (ed),  Handbook of Strata-bound and Stratiform Deposits; II. Regional Studies and Specific Deposits Elsevier, Amsterdam   v6, Cu, Zn, Pb and Ag Deposits pp 256-274
Garlick W G  1961 - Chambishi: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 281-297
Greyling L N, Robb L J, Master S, Boiron M C and Yao Y,  2005 - The nature of early basinal fluids in the Zambian Copperbelt: A case study from the Chambishi deposit: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 159-172
Gunning H C  1961 - The Early Years: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 3-10
Haynes D W  1986 - Stratiform Copper deposits hosted by low-energy sediments: II. Nature of source rocks and composition of metal-transporting water: in    Econ. Geol.   v81 pp 266-280
Haynes D W  1986 - Stratiform Copper deposits hosted by low-energy sediments: I. Timing of Sulfide precipitation - an hypothesis: in    Econ. Geol.   v81 pp 250-265
Hitzman M W  1998 - Petrographic Studies of Ore Shale from the Zambian Copperbelt, Implications for Models of Ore Formation: in   Geological Society of America, 1998 Annual Meeting Geological Society of America - Abstracts with Programs   v30, No.7 pp 19-20
Hitzman M W, Selley D and Bull S,  2010 - Formation of Sedimentary Rock-Hosted Stratiform Copper Deposits through Earth History : in    Econ. Geol.   v105 pp 627639
Hitzman M W, Broughton D, Selley D, Woodhead J, Wood D and Bull S,  2012 - The Central African Copperbelt: Diverse Stratigraphic, Structural, and Temporal Settings in the Worlds Largest Sedimentary Copper District: in Hedenquist J W, Harris M and Camus F, 2012 Geology and Genesis of Major Copper Deposits and Districts of the World - A tribute to Richard H Sillitoe Society of Economic Geologists   Special Publication 16, pp. 487514
Hitzman M W, Kirkham R, Broughton D, Thorson J and Selley D,  2005 - The sediment-hosted stratiform copper ore system: in Hedenquist J W, Thompson J F H, Goldfarb R J and Richards J P (Eds.), 2005 Economic Geology 100th Anniversary Volume, Society of Economic Geologists, Denver,     pp. 609-642
Jordaan J  1961 - Nkana: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 297-328
Kampunzu A B and Cailteux J L H,  1999 - Tectonic Evolution of the Lufilian Arc (Central Africa Copper Belt) During Neoproterozoic Pan African Orogenesis: in    Gondwana Research   v.2 pp. 401-421
Master S, Rainaud C, Armstrong R A, Phillips D and Robb L J,  2005 - Provenance ages of the Neoproterozoic Katanga Supergroup (Central African Copperbelt), with implications for basin evolution: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 41-60
Master S, Rainaud C, Armstrong R A, Philips D and Robb L J,  2005 - Provenance ages of the Neoproterozoic Katanga Supergroup (Central African Copperbelt), with implications for basin evolution: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v.42 pp. 41-60
McGowan R  2001 - Towards a New Genetic Model for Precambrian Sediment-hosted Copper Deposits: in   A brief overview of the Zambian Copperbelt  - Web page extract, from: www.soc.soton.ac.uk/SOES/STAFF/sr1/Ross/RMcGowan_HP.htm    5p
McKinnon D, Smit N J  1961 - Nchanga: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 234-275
Mendelsohn F  1961 - Roan Antelope: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 351-405
Mendelsohn F  1989 - Central/Southern African Ore Shale Deposits: in Boyle R W, Brown A C, Jefferson C W, Jowett E C, Kirkham R V, (eds),  Sediment-hosted Stratiform Copper Deposits Geological Association of Canada   Special paper 36 pp 453-469
Mendelsohn F, Garlick W G, Pienaar P J, Demesmaeker G  1961 - General Geology (Extract): in Mendelsohn F (Ed.),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 17-56
Porada H and Berhorst V,  2000 - Towards a new understanding of the Neoproterozoic-Early Palaeozoic Lufilian and northern Zambezi Belts in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v.30 pp. 727-771
Porada H and Druschel G,  2010 - Evidence for participation of microbial mats in the deposition of the siliciclastic ore formation in the Copperbelt of Zambia: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v.58 pp. 427-444
Rainaud C, Master S, Armstrong R A and Robb L J,  2005 - Geochronology and nature of the Palaeoproterozoic basement in the Central African Copperbelt (Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo), with regional implications: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 1-31
Rainaud C, Master S, Armstrong R A and Robb L J,  2005 - Geochronology and nature of the Palaeoproterozoic basement in the Central African Copperbelt (Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo), with regional implications: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v.42 pp. 1-31
Rainaud C, Master S, Armstrong R A, Phillips D and Robb L J,  2005 - Monazite U-Pb dating and 40Ar-39Ar thermochronology of metamorphic events in the Central African Copperbelt during the Pan-African Lufilian Orogeny: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v.42 pp. 183-199
Richards J P, Cumming G L, Krstic D, Wagner P A, Spooner E T C  1988 - Pb isotope constraints on the age of Sulfide ore deposition and U-Pb age of late Uraninite veining at the Musoshi stratiform Copper deposit, central African Copper belt, Zaire: in    Econ. Geol.   v83 pp 724-741
Richards J P, Krogh T E, Spooner E T C  1988 - Fluid inclusion characteristics and U-Pb Rutile age of late hydrothermal alteration and veining at the Musoshi stratiform copper deposit, central African Copper belt, Zaire: in    Econ. Geol.   v83 pp 118-139
Selley D, Broughton D, Scott R, Hitzman M, Bull S, Large R, McGoldrick P, Croaker M and Pollington N,  2005 - A new look at the geology of the Zambian Copperbelt: in   Economic Geology, 100 Anniversary Volume, Society of Economic Geologists,    pp. 965-1000
Sillitoe R H, Perello J and Garcia A,  2010 - Sulfide-Bearing Veinlets Throughout the Stratiform Mineralization of the Central African Copperbelt: Temporal and Genetic Implications : in    Econ. Geol.   v105 pp 1361-1368
Sutton S J and Maynard J B,  2005 - A fluid mixing model for copper mineralization at Konkola North, Zambian Copperbelt: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 95-118
Sweeney M A, Binda P L  1989 - The Role of Diagenesis in the Formation of the Konkola Cu-Co Orebody of the Zambian Copperbelt: in Boyle R W, Brown A C, Jefferson C W, Jowett E C, Kirkham R V, (eds),  Sediment-hosted Stratiform Copper Deposits Geological Association of Canada   Special paper 36 pp 499-518
Sweeney M A, Binda P L  1994 - Some Constraints on the Formation of the Zambian Copperbelt Deposits: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v19 pp 303-313
Sweeney M A, Binda P L, Vaughan D J  1991 - Genesis of the Ores of the Zambian Copperbelt: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v6 pp 51-76
Sweeney M, Turner P, Vaughan D J  1986 - Stable isotope and geochemical studies of the role of early diagenesis in ore formation, Konkola Basin, Zambian Copper belt: in    Econ. Geol.   v81 pp 1838-1852
Unrug R  1988 - Mineralization Controls and Source of Metals in the Lufilian Fold Belt, Shaba (Zaire), Zambia and Angola: in    Econ. Geol.   v83 pp 1247-1258
Unrug R  1989 - LANDSAT-based Structural Map of the Lufilian Fold Belt and the Kundelungu Aulacogen, Shaba (Zaire), Zambia and Angola, and the Regional Position of Cu, Co, U, Au, Zn and Pb Mineralisation: in Boyle R W, Brown A C, Jefferson C W, Jowett E C, Kirkham R V, (eds),  Sediment-hosted Stratiform Copper Deposits Geological Association of Canada   Special paper 36 pp 519-524
Unrug R  1988 - Mineralization controls and source of metals in the Lufilian Fold Belt, Shaba (Zaire), Zambia, and Angola: in    Econ. Geol.   v83 pp 1247-1258
van Eden J G  1974 - Deposition and Diagenetic Environment Related to Sulfide Mineralization, Mufulira, Zambia: in    Econ. Geol.   v69 pp 59-79
Wendorff M,  2005 - Sedimentary genesis and lithostratigraphy of Neoproterozoic megabreccia from Mufulira, Copperbelt of Zambia: in    J. of African Earth Sciences   v42 pp 61-81
Winfield O  1961 - Chibuluma: in Mendelsohn F (ed),  Geology of the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt McDonald, London    pp 328-342
Zientek M L, Hayes T S and Hammarstrom J M  2013 - Overview of a New Descriptive Model for Sediment- Hosted Stratabound Copper Deposits: in Zientek M L, Hammarstrom J M and Johnson K M, 2013 Descriptive Models, Grade-Tonnage Relations, and Databases for the Assessment of Sediment-Hosted Copper DepositsWith Emphasis on Deposits in the Central African Copperbelt, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia USGS Scientific Investigations,   Report 20105090J pp. 2-16

 PGC Literature Compilations containing papers referring to this deposit: Browse & Buy collection papers
Africa-B 2001: Volume 1 - The Zambian Copper Belt

 This deposit has featured in the following PGC International Study Tour(s):
Africa-B 2001 - Mineral Deposits of Southern & Central Africa


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