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Indium distribution in sphalerite from sulfide–oxide–silicate skarn assemblages: a case study of the Dulong Zn–Sn–In deposit, Southwest China
Mineralium Deposita ( IF 3.397 ) Pub Date : 2020-03-17 , DOI: 10.1007/s00126-020-00972-y
Jing Xu, Nigel J. Cook, Cristiana L. Ciobanu, Xiaofeng Li, Alkiviadis Kontonikas-Charos, Sarah Gilbert, Youhu Lv

Economic interest in indium (In) and other critical metals has accelerated efforts to understand how such elements occur in nature and the controls on their mineralogy. In this contribution, the distribution of In and other trace elements in the Dulong Zn–Sn–In deposit, China, is described, using a holistic approach which targets not only sulfides but also the potential for In and Sn within co-existing oxides and skarn silicates. Sphalerite is the most significant In carrier. Four distinct types of sphalerite are identified, which differ with respect to ore texture and the concentration of In (0.74–4572 ppm). Subordinate amounts of In also occur within chalcopyrite and within andradite garnet, an abundant mineral in the skarn at Dulong and possibly accounting for a significant proportion of total In. Tin is not especially concentrated in either sphalerite or chalcopyrite, occurring instead as cassiterite but with measurable concentrations also in magnetite and skarn silicates. The study confirms that the dominant substitution for In in sphalerite is 2Zn2+ ↔ Cu+ + In3+ but that Ag and Sn may also play a subordinate role in some sphalerite sub-types via the substitution: 3Zn2+ ↔ Ag+ + Sn2+ + In3+. The study highlights that concentrations of In in sphalerite are likely to be heterogeneous at scales from single mineral grains to that of the deposit. The observed partitioning of both In and Sn into skarn silicates, and to a lesser extent, oxides, is a critical factor that may significantly compromise estimations of by-product elements that would be economically recoverable during exploitation of sulfide ores.
更新日期:2020-04-22

 

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