El Soldado


Main commodities: Cu Ag
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The El Soldado copper-silver deposit is located some 120 km to the NNW of Santiago in central Chile.

The ore is emplaced within early Cretaceous marine volcanics and pyroclastics of alternating mafic and felsic composition with interlayered sediments bounded below and above by Terrestrial volcanics and clastics of upper Jurassic and mid to upper Early Cretaceous age respectively. The closest intrusives are of Cretaceous (118 to 97 Ma) granodiorite-diorite some 12 km to the east.

The deposit area is at the apparent intersection of two structural trends and appears also to occupy a unique volcanic centre from which the immediate host sequence was derived.

Copper mineralisation is restricted to a package of interlayered trachytic and andesitic flows, pyroclastics and subordinate marine sediments. The mineralisation occurs as sparse, isolated orebodies spread through a volume of 1800 m in length, 700 m in width and 500 m thick.

Despite the regionally stratabound nature of mineralisation, it also has a strong structural control, localised along faults and fault intersections and being discordant to strata. Mineralisation also shows a preference for trachytes. These trachytes have a marked albitic composition. The dimensions of the numerous isolated orebodies vary from 100 to 450 m in length, 30 to 150 m in width and 80 to 400 m in height. The lateral limits to the orebodies are generally reasonably sharp, going from high grade +2% Cu to low grade 0.5-1.2% Cu in a matter of a few metres.

Mineralisation is mainly primary, progressing inwards from an outer pyrite rich halo to chalcopyrite and then a core of bornite which may have associated chalcocite. The sulphides occur as finely disseminated grains and in veinlets and micro-veinlets, within open spaces in the core and as disseminations towards the margins.

Weak to strong alteration accompanies the ore, composed of calcite, chlorite, quartz, albite, hematite and rare epidote and clay. Calcite is the most abundant alteration mineral and occurs in halos. Silicification is more pronounced on the bornite cores, while hematite is found in the core zones and as very fine crystals surrounding copper sulphides. Late low temperature albite occurs as veinlets and patches. The deposit is controlled and operated by Compania Minera Disputada de las Condes, originally an Exxon subsidiary, but purched in 2002 by Anglo American Corporation.

In 1995 the mine reserves were estimated at 60 Mt @ 1.2 to 1.3% Cu.
In 2001 the total identified resource amounted to 200 Mt @ 1.35% Cu, including production to 2000 of 70 Mt @ 1.8% Cu.

For detail consult the reference(s) listed below.

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.

  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Boric R, Holmgren C, Wilson N S F and Zentilli M,  2002 - The Geology of the El Soldado Manto Type Cu-(Ag) Deposit, Central Chile: in Porter T M, (Ed), 2002 Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold & Related Deposits: A Global Perspective, PGC Publishing, Adelaide,   v.2 pp. 163-184
El Soldado Geological Staff  1995 - Geology of El Soldado, A stratabound copper deposit in the Central Chilean Coastal Range: in Green S M, Struhsacker E, (Eds), 1995 Geology & Ore Deposits of the American Cordillera, Field Trip Guidebook compendium Geol. Soc., Nevada    pp 496-500
Haynes D W,  2000 - Iron Oxide Copper (-Gold) Deposits: Their Position in the Ore Deposit Spectrum and Modes of Origin: in Porter T M (Ed), 2000 Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold & Related Deposits: A Global Perspective PGC Publishing, Adelaide   v.1 pp. 71-90
Maksaev V and Zentilli M,  2002 - Chilean Strata-bound Cu- (Ag) Deposits: An Overview: in Porter T M (Ed.), 2002 Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold and Related Deposits: A Global Perspective, PGC Publishing, Adelaide   v.2 pp. 185-205
Wilson N S F, Zentilli M   1999 - The role of organic matter in the genesis of the El Soldado volcanic-hosted Manto-type Cu deposit, Chile: in     Econ. Geol.   v94 pp 1115-1136
Wilson N S F, Zentilli M, Spiro B  2003 - A Sulfur, Oxygen, and Strontium isotope study of the volcanic-hosted El Soldado Manto-type Copper deposit, Chile: the essential role of bacteria and petroleum: in    Econ. Geol.   v98 pp 163-174

   References in PGC Publishing Books: Want any of our books ? Pricelist
Boric R, Holmgren C, Wilson N S F, Zentilli M, 2002 - The geology of the El Soldado manto type Cu-(Ag) deposit, central Chile,   in  Porter T M, (Ed.),  Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold & Related Deposits: A Global Perspective,  v2  pp 163-184
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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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