La Calamine (also known as Moresnet, Vieille Montagne and Altenberg)


Main commodities: Zn Pb
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The La Calamine non-sulphide zinc deposit (also known as Moresnet, Vieille Montagne and Altenberg) is located in north-eastern Belgium near the German border.   It lies within a ENE trending 140 km long belt of mainly zinc-lead-fluorite-barite ores (both carbonate hosted and vein type) hosted by Devonian to Carboniferous carbonate rocks which has been a centre of mining since Roman times.

The deposit was apparently hosted by Devono-Carboniferous sediments and took the form of a large lense of ore located in the nose of a narrow syncline which plunges at 15°SW. The ore lense occuppied a surface area of 500 x 65 to 100 m and persisted to a depth of 110 m where it is still non-oxide, in contrast to other Belgian non-sulphide zinc ores which pass down into sulphides.   The only sulphides associated with the ore are possibly secondary and in the wall rocks.   The ore is lead poor and mixed with Fe and Mn oxides and hydroxides (goethite, lepidocrocite, hematite, braunite, manganite and pyrolusite) and occurs as irregular bodies in collapse breccias and in mottled clays.   It exhibits a vertical zonation from mostly Zn carbonates, mainly smithsonite (with significant hemimorphite) at surface, with progressively increasing intermixed Zn silicates and clays with depth to be dominated by willemite below 80 m.   The Zn clays are found from the surface to a depth of 50 m and comprise sauconite and fraipontite.

Production from La Calamine has totalled around 1.4 Mt of ore for 0.76 Mt of zinc over a 400 year period to its closure in 1884.

For more detail see the reference(s) listed below.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2003.    
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

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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