Original paper

Overview of the mineral resource potential of Latin America in relation to global tectonic and metallogenic controls

Terrones L., Alberto J.

Global Tectonics and Metallogeny Volume 2 Number 3-4 (1984), p. 213 - 258

47 references

published: Jan 1, 1984

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ArtNo. ESP136000203006, Price: 19.00 €

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Research on metallogenic provinces in Latin America using global tectonic and metallogenic controls has disclosed three major geographic areas with maximum metallic and ore mineral concentrations: 1) The Eastern, Central and Southwestern portions of the Guapore or Central Precambrian Brazilian Shield. It covers an area of 1.5 million square kilometers, mostly within Brazilian territory. The southwest portion penetrates Eastern Bolivia. The major "Serra dos Carajas" tectonomagmatic mobile belt of the Transamazonic Orogenic Cycle (2000-1800 M.Y. old) constitutes the most prolific site of metallization, containing the richest concentration of iron ore in the world (17.9 billion tons of 66.1 % Fe ore), as well as important concentrations of aluminum (4.6 billion tons of bauxite running 52.2% Al2O3, 4.4% SiO2 and 9.6% Fe2O3), manganese (72.5 million tons of ore running 43.6% Mn), nickel (47 million tons of 1.56% Ni ore), tin (37,000 metric tons of concentrates running 66-70% Sn) and gold (940,000 kilograms). In Eastern Bolivia, younger tectonomagmatic cycles of Middle to Late Proterozoic and Early Paleozoic age control the distribution of iron and manganese concentrations (Mutum), nickel-copper (Rincon del Tigre ultramafic complex); as well as of tin and gold. Jurassic magmatism, reactivated along Late Precambrian tectonic belts gave origin to carbonatite type mineralization (columbite-tantalite, rare earths and apatite) along a belt of alkaline pipe-shaped intrusives in Eastern Bolivia. 2) An area of the Andes above a steeper dipping segment of the subducted Nazca Plate, encompassing: the Chile-Peruvian metallogenic Copper Province (82.6 million tons of metallic copper content and 1.7 million tons of molybdenum), the Polymetallic Provinces of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru (6.6 million kg of silver, 454,000 tons of metallic lead, 886,000 tons of metallic zinc, 2.6 million tons of copper, and 1.7 million kg of uranium oxide), the Bolivian Tin Metallogenic Province (789,000 metric tons of metallic tin content, about 3.0 million kg of silver, 740,000 tons of zinc, and 338,000 tons of antimony) and the Bolivian-Peruvian Gold Province (with 1.6 million kg of gold). This area also contains the highest world concentration of copper, molybdenum, tin and antimony with important contents of silver, gold, lead, zinc, bismuth and tungsten. 3) Another most intensely mineralized region in Latin America is located in North-Central Mexico, covering an area of 1.05 million sq.km. It extends from the U.S. border southward to the latitude 20┬░ N where the east-west Mexican Neovolcanic Belt practically cuts out the various metallogenic provinces that integrate this outstanding mineralized area. The major metallogenic provinces, involved in this area, are: the Cupro-Argentiferous Province of the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Argentiferous and Polymetallic Provinces of the Central Plateau (Mesa Central), and the Argentiferous and Polymetallic Province of the Sierra Madre Oriental. The silver reserves of 35.8 million kg are the largest in Latin America, if not the highest in the world. The metallic reserves of 5.7 million tons of lead and 6.0 million tons of zinc represent the highest concentration of these two metals in Latin America. In addition, this region has important reserves of metallic copper (27.8 million tons), molybdenum (299,000 tons), antimony (179,000 tons), mercury (6,755 tons), cadmium (about 17,000 tons), metallic iron (108 million tons), manganese (13.6 million tons) and uranium (15.3 million kg of uranium oxide). The 35.4 millions of fluorite reserve in this area is perhaps the highest in the world. In order to complete an overall picture of the potential of the Latin American mineral resources, seven inventories on metal and ore mineral reserves were prepared, covering the most important basic commodities: silver, copper, iron ore, bauxite, coal, uranium and phosphate rock. Expectations as to the " Industrial Life" of these seven metal and mineral commodities were also calculated.


Latin AmericaironmineralJurassic magmatismmetal