Ouenza, Bou Khrada


Main commodities: Fe
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The Ouenza and Bou Khrada iron deposits are located in the Atlas Mountains of northeastern Algeria. They are approximately 30 km apart and 187 and 193 km respectively south of the port of Annaba.

The oldest rocks in the region are Triassic limestones and marls with abundant gypsum and halite, outcropping over restricted areas of several kilometres in diameter, resulting from diapiric updoming. These are overlain and penetrate a Cretaceous sequence which continues through to the Middle Eocene, mainly composed of marls and limestones deformed by gentle folds. Lower Cretaceous Aptian limestones, which regionally host all of the iron mineralisation, are generally only exposed in the cores of domes. The Oligocen is represented by continental sediments, while the Miocene is marine. Igneous rocks are inconspicuous. Further to the north Tertiary granites and andesitic rocks of Miocene age are known.

The Ouenza siderite deposit is located proximal to Triassic evaporitic diapirs. Iron mineralisation mainly occurs within Lower Cretaceous Aptian neritic limestones which host iron concentrations of 120 to 150 Mt of 53 to 60% Fe. The iron ore consists of iron carbonate replacement minerals which have been partially oxidised to hematite. Fine-grained ankerite and siderite replace limestones, whereas sparry ankerite and siderite were emplaced in veins. The main deposit at Ouenza is reported to be 2 km long and up to 500 m wide. The limestones are exposed in a series of antiformal hills separated by faults.

These mines supply the local Algerain steel complex.   Resource figures quoted vary:
  Marelle, 1970 describes 130 Mt @ 40 to 56% Fe at Ouenza and Bou Kadra,
  Michalski of the USGS, 1996 report 35 Mt @ 53% Fe at Ouenza,
  The Ministry of Energy and Mines of Algeria (2005) estimates the potential of the Ouenza and
    Boukhadra areas at 70 and 60 Mt respectively, with a further 12 Mt at Djebel Hanini-Setif,
    grading around 60% Fe.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2005.    
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

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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