Silesian Zinc - Wiktor Emanual, Zawiercie, Boleslaw, Olkusz, Trzeboinka, Matylda, Chechlo, Pomorzany


Main commodities: Zn Pb
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The Upper Silesian region of Poland includes a number of extensive Triassic carbonate hosted lead-zinc deposits which include the following groups of mines:

Wiktor Emanual,   Zawiercie,   Marchlewski,   Orzel Bialy,   Novy Dwor,   Warynski,   Boleslaw,   Olkusz,   Trzeboinka,   Matylda,   Chechlo,   Chorozow,   Pomorzany.   In 2010 only the latter remained in operation.

The known Zn-Pb mineralisation of the district is contained within Devonian, Triassic and Jurassic carbonates.   The only commercially exploited resources are within Triassic hosts, although as yet un-mined tonnages of economic grades are outlined in the Devonian carbonates.

The sequence in the region comprises a Precambrian crystalline basement unconformably overlain by Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian and Lower Devonian flysch that has been folded and weakly metamorphosed by Caledonian orogenesis.   These were overlain by upper Palaeozoic platform carbonates of middle to upper Devonian and Carboniferous age.   Both sequences were uplifted and deformed by Variscan movements to form the Cracow-Myszkow elevation which is accompanied by middle to late Palaeozoic magmatism (both intrusive and extrusive) and deep fracture zones.   The suceeding Mesozoic carbonate shelf sequence was deposited over both of these earlier and deformed sequences.   Two deep, curved fracture zones frame the Upper Silesian ore district which occupies an area of approximately 60 x 60 km.

The Triassic Muschelkalk sequence hosting Zn-Pb sulphides in the district includes limestones, early diagentic dolostones and marls.   The immediate hosts are sulphide bearing coarsely crystalline dolomite occurring as extensive, roughly tabular bodies in the Triassic and as very similar, but more irregular, crosscutting and variable Devonian masses.   The ore bearing dolomite shows crosscutting, metasomatic contacts with the surrounding un-altered carbonates.

The ore is composed ofsphalerite, galena, marcasite and pyrite with minor wurtzite, brunckite, and Pb-As sulfosalts in a gangue of dolomite, barite and calcite.   The ore is developed in what are descibed as "hydrothermal karst" cavities which were apparently formed at the same time as sulphide introduction.

Zinc has been mined in these districts for nearly 800 years and is estimated to have had production + reserves of ~700 Mt @ 4% Zn, 2% Pb (Mlynarczyk et al., 2010)   In 1999 total reserves in the region amounted to 200 Mt @ 3.8% Zn, 1.6% Pb, plus and un economic tonnage of 57 Mt @ 5.6% Zn and 1.4% Pb as oxidised ore.

Oxide (non-sulphide) mineralisation was found in association with sulphide deposits, particularly at the Olkusz, Bytom, Trzeboinka and Zawiercie mines of which Olkusz and Bytom were the most significant non-sulphide sources.   Ore is found in upfaulted horst blocks to depths of 120 m controlled by tectonic fracture systems which allow ingress of oxidised meteoric waters.   The ores are composed of finely crystalline smithsonite with lesser hemimorphite and/or hydrozincite, cerussite and Fe hydroxides, with incompletely oxidised galena and sphalerite sometimes recorded.   The ore has a number of forms, including:  i). high grade "galman" consisting of aggregates of non-sulphide zinc minerals,  ii). hard compact ore associated with dolomite, and  iii). earthy ore found in karstic cavities and other open spaces.   The ores are regarded as having been formed by the oxidation and solution of sulphides by ground waters and almost immediate precipitation as oxides in the high pH, oxidising carbonate environment.   The Bytom mine is estimated to have produced 17.3 Mt @ 17% Zn as oxide ore. (Boni & Large, 2003)

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2010.    
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:
Boni M, Large D  2003 - Nonsulfide zinc mineralization in Europe: an overview: in    Econ. Geol.   v98 pp 715-729
Coppola V, Boni M, Gilg H A and Strzelska-Smakowska B,  2009 - Nonsulfide zinc deposits in the Silesia–Cracow district, Southern Poland: in    Mineralium Deposita   v.44 pp. 559-580
Heijlen W, Muchez P, Banks D A, Schneider J, Kucha H, Keppens E  2003 - Carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb deposits in Upper Silesia, Poland: Origin and evolution of mineralizing fluids and constraints on genetic models: in    Econ. Geol.   v98 pp 911-932
Mlynarczyk M S J, Barry J P and Large D,  2010 - A reassessment of the mineral exploration potential of the Upper Silesia-Cracow carbonate-hosted zinc-lead district, Poland: in Archibald S M (Ed.), 2010 Proceedings of the Zinc2010 Meeting, Cork 2010, Irish Association for Economic Geology    pp. 19-22
Rybicki, M., Marynowski, L., Stukins, S. and Nejbert, K.,  2017 - Age and Origin of the Well-Preserved Organic Matter in Internal Sediments from the Silesian-Cracow Lead-Zinc Deposits, Southern Poland: in    Econ. Geol.   v.112, pp. 775-798.
Sass-Gustkiewicz M, Dzulynski S, Ridge J D  1982 - The emplacement of zinc-lead sulfide ores in the Upper Silesian district - a contribution to the understanding of Mississippi Valley-type deposits: in    Econ. Geol.   v77 pp 392-412
Sass-Gustkiewicz M, Kwiecinska B  1999 - Organic matter in the upper Silesian (Mississippi Valley-type) Zn-Pb deposits, Poland: in    Econ. Geol.   v94 pp 981-992
Symons D T A, Sangster D F, Leach D L  1995 - A Tertiary age from paleomagnetism for Mississippi Valley-type Zinc-Lead mineralization in upper Silesia, Poland: in    Econ. Geol.   v90 pp 782-794

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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