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BULLETIN OF THE SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC GEOLOGISTS
Philippine Porphyry and Epithermal Deposits: An Introduction
DAVID R. COOKE,1,† PETE HOLLINGS,2 AND ZHAOSHAN CHANG1,*
ARC Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 126, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Department, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Rd, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5E1, Canada
Copper, Gold and Silver Mining in the Philippines THE PHILIPPINES is one of the most richly endowed parts of the Southwest Pacific, with many porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold-silver deposits scattered along the archipelago (e.g., Sillitoe and Gappe, 1984; Mitchell and Leach, 1991; Fig. 1). Chinese mining artifacts discovered in the Baguio and Masbate districts suggest that gold and silver mining dates back to at least the 14th century. Several placer gold mining regions were active during the Spanish regime (1521 to 1898; Bureau of Mines and Geosciences, 1986). Since World War II, gold and silver production has risen fairly steadily, from 2.0 t Au and 1.4 t Ag in 1946 to 37 t Au and 34 t Ag in 2009 (Bureau of Mines and Geosciences, 1986; Fig. 2). Between 2005 and 2009, the Philippines accounted for approximately 1.5 and 0.1 percent of global gold and silver production, respectively, when approximately 37 t Au and between 14 and 34 t Ag were produced each year (George, 2011; Brooks, 2011; Fig. 2). The first large-scale copper mining operations in the Philippines commenced at Carawisan in 1842 and Mankayan in 1864 (Bureau of Mines and Geosciences, 1986). Copper mining activities increased markedly with the opening of the Atlas, Sipilay, and Santo Tomas porphyry copper mines in the late 1950s, which led to an exploration and production boom in the 1960s and 1970s (Fig. 2). Production rose steadily from 0.0032 Mt of fine copper in 1947 to 0.32 Mt in 1981 (Bureau of Mines and Geosciences, 1986; Fig. 2). There were 18 producers active at the peak of the copper mining boom in 1974, but this decreased to five by 1984, and declined further over the next two decades. The closure of the Lepanto enargite mine in 1996 (Chang et al., 2011) marked a return to 1950sstyle Cu production figures (Fig. 2). Between 2005 and 2009, the Philippines only produced between 0.1 and 0.3 percent of the world’s copper (Edelstein, 2011), although production is increasing once more, after the trough of the mid-1990s through the early 2000s (Fig. 2). The marked decline in the
† Corresponding author: e-mail, email@example.com *Present address: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Building 34, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia.
Philippine copper mining industry since the 1980s relates in part to significant social, political, and environmental challenges now confronting explorers (e.g., Clancy, 2005), which have resulted in the Philippines mostly being bypassed by recent global mining booms. This decline is reflected in the paucity of active metallic mining operations across the nation (Fig. 1a) and by the decline in the relative contribution of mining and quarrying to the Philippines’ gross domestic product, from 10 percent in 1970 to <1.5 percent in 2003 (Clancy, 2005). Copper production now comes primarily from two porphyry deposits (Santo Tomas II and Carmen), and two VHMS deposits (Rapu-Rapu and Canatuan; Philippines Mines and Geoscience Bureau, http://www.mgb.gov.ph/). Because the Philippines is richly endowed with porphyry copper-gold deposits (Sillitoe and Gappe, 1984), the copper mining industry in the Philippines clearly has considerable potential for expansion. A subdued Philippines gold mining industry is reflected in current gold production figures. The Philippines produced 10.7 t Au in the first quarter of 2011, more than two-thirds of which came from small-scale mining activities (Philippines Mines and Geoscience Bureau, http://www.mgb.gov.ph/). This unusual situation is testament to the current difficulties encountered by companies attempting to develop large-scale gold and copper mining operations in the Philippines (e.g., Clancy, 2005). It also highlights the potential opportunities available to companies that manage to successfully negotiate the on-going sociopolitical challenges. Porphyry and Epithermal Deposits in the Philippines This special issue aims to improve our understanding of Philippines porphyry and epithermal deposits, presenting the results of new research into the characteristics and origins of several porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold-silver deposits as well as an active geothermal system that has features characteristic of both porphyry and epithermal environments. The subdued copper and gold mining and exploration activity in the Philippines over the past few decades have meant that this region has been subjected to less intensive research
©2011 by Economic Geology, Vol. 106, pp. 1253–1256
Waters et al. Modified from Philippines Mines and Geoscience Bureau. (2011) 7 .mgb. fluid inclusion and stable isotope data. efforts than many other of the world’s premier porphyry and epithermal districts.00 (middle Miocene and Pliocene-Pleistocene).Study sites . They conclude that the potassic magmas of the Cagayan Valley formed in a back arc coeval to the main arc sequence that is preserved in the Miocene rocks of the Baguio district.Wolfe and Cooke (2011) 5 .Hollings et al.. 120° 18° 122° 124° 126° A . Hedenquist et al. based on new petrological.Active mining operations Philippines. Miocene porphyry-style mineralization is documented in Wolfe and Cooke (2011). (2011a) 3 . Distribution of active copper. (2011) 2 . 2011 B . Study site locations for this special issue.Braxton and Mathur (2011) 9 .Cooke et al. silver and zinc 1 .this issue 6 9 1-3 4&5 Philippine Sea Luzon Philippine Sea 12° 12° Negros 7 8 Mindanao 6°N 6°N 200 km 120°E Celebes Sea 122° 124° 126° 200 km 120°E Celebes Sea 122° 124° 126° Gold with silver Copper with gold and silver Chromite Nickel Nickel concentrate Polymetallic with copper. circa mid-2011. (2011) 8 . (2011b) 6 . chromium and nickel mines in the Philippines. Understanding the processes of porphyry and epithermal ore formation in this tectonically complex area should therefore be of paramount importance to explorers and researchers.Chang et al. 1998). gold.Deyell and Hedenquist (2011) FIG.1254 120° 18° 122° 124° 126° COOKE ET AL. This contradicts earlier models. zinc. gold. They conclude 1254 . 1. A. A primary focus of the special issue is the mineral deposits of northern Luzon (Fig. who provide a genetic model for the alkalic-style Dinkidi porphyry Cu-Au deposit.ph/. This is in spite of the fact that the bestdocumented example of a coupled porphyry-high sulfidation epithermal deposit occurs in the Philippines at Lepanto-Far South East (Arribas et al. (2011) 4 . with telescoping of epithermal systems into the porphyry environment a common phenomenon. 1b). silver.Rae et al. which invoked an early Miocene arc reversal in the Northern Luzon archipelago. mineralogical. 1995. Hollings et al. The middle Miocene mineralizing event is discussed in two papers. (2011a) utilize major and trace element geochemistry and radiogenic isotope data to develop a new model for the Miocene tectonic evolution of northern Luzon and its relationship to porphyry mineralization. http://www.gov.Hollings et al. B. because these processes have been particularly effective at producing high-grade hypogene gold-rich resources. where at least two epochs of porphyry and epithermal mineralization have been identified 0361-0128/98/000/000-00 $6..
1995. Brooks (2004. 2011).PHILIPPINE PORPHYRY AND EPITHERMAL DEPOSITS: INTRODUCTION 1255 Philippines: Au. The Baguio district was the most prolific gold-producing district in the Philippines during much of the 20th century (Bureau of Mines and Geosciences. 2011). Reese (1994). Deyell and Hedenquist. High Ca alunite. also occurs at proximal locations. Deyell and Hedenquist (2011) report the first LAICPMS laser ablation study of enargite from the Far Southeast and Lepanto deposits. who conclude that porphyry mineralization commenced in the west of the district ~3 Ma and terminated in the east ~1 Ma. Pliocene-Pleistocene porphyry and epithermal mineralization in northern Luzon is well-developed in both the Baguio and Mankayan districts (Fig. and Pb are enriched in enargite in the center of Lepanto. Lucas (1994). 1998). Ag and Cu production: 1910 .2009 350 Gold (t) A n n u al pr o du cti o n ( t o r Mt) 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1910 Silver (t) Copper (Mt) Di s r u pti o n du e to Wo r l d War II 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Year FIG. Bureau of Mines and Geosciences (1986).00 copper-gold and intermediate sulfidation epithermal gold-silver mineralization. (2011) show that several characteristics of the alteration change systematically with distance from the causative intrusion: (1) The alunite absorption peak at ~1. (3) Whole-rock compositions.. They conclude that subduction of the Scarborough Seamount chain was critical to the formation of the porphyry mineralization.. that extensive fractionation in. 2011) and George (2011). including the Far Southeast porphyry Cu-Au deposit. and skarn deposits (Waters et al. Waters et al. 2004. and highlight the potential to use enargite trace element chemistry as a vectoring tool for porphyry-style mineralization. 1b). Hilliard (1999). (2011) present new insights into epithermal and porphyry mineralizing processes in the Baguio district through detailed stable and radiogenic isotopic analyses of ore and gangue minerals. Cooke at el. and provide evidence for a genetic link between porphyry 0361-0128/98/000/000-00 $6. They show that Au and Te are enriched in enargite close to the Far Southeast porphyry. 2011) and two discuss the Mankayan district (Chang et al. 2011). (2011b) utilize major and trace element geochemistry and radiogenic isotope studies of the Pliocene regional volcanic and intrusive rocks to constrain the most likely geodynamic trigger for porphyry ore formation in the district. 2011. Chang et al. Se) anomalies in rocks <~350 m above the upper extent of the veins. whereas Ag. and copper production (in millions of tonnes) from 1947 to 2009. 2011. Philippines gold and silver production (in tonnes) from 1910 to 2009. Hollings et al. the Lepanto high sulfidation epithermal Cu-Au deposit. including huangite. a silica-undersaturated dioritic magma chamber caused an early phase of high-grade Cu-Au mineralization associated with a silica-undersaturated vein stockwork and an unusual variably textured pegmatite dike.. (2011). Amey (1999).. Mancano and Campbell. Data sources: Wu (1984). and consequently offers an opportunity to investigate relationships between geodynamic phenomena. epithermal. They also noted subtle illite or interstratified illitesmectite or smectite + pyrite alteration and geochemical (As. 1255 . Lyday (1989).480 nm in the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) spectrum shifts to higher wavelengths where the sample is closer to the intrusive center. Edelstein (1994. Each district contained more than 35 Moz of gold resources and several millions tonnes of copper in porphyry. and La/Pb increase markedly.. 1999.1 ppm) and alunite-bearing samples. and the Victoria and Teresa intermediate sulfidation epithermal Au-Ag vein deposits. decrease toward the intrusive center. Hedenquist et al.. Sr/Pb. whereas Sr. (2) Alunite Pb content decreases towards the intrusive center. Alteration and minealization at Lepanto is genetically related to Far Southeast porphyry (Arribas et al. 1995. plus Hg and Ag. 2. Fe. Three papers in this special issue discuss the Baguio district (Cooke et al. Mankayan is host to a variety of ore deposits and prospects. La. using only nonmineralized (taken as Cu <0. 2011b. 1b) that help to locate porphyry deposits concealed by lithocaps. followed by a lower grade Cu-Au-bearing quartz vein stockwork associated with a latestage syenite pipe. The timing of magmatism in the Baguio district has been constrained through new high-precision Ar-Ar data presented by Waters et al.. The new data for silicic-advanced argillic alteration above Lepanto and Far Southeast presented by Chang et al. and Zn (± Cd) is enriched distal to the Far Southeast porphyry. show that Pb and Ag/Au. (2011) report and discuss new alteration vectors discovered in the Mankayan district (Fig. porphyry coppergold and epithermal gold-silver mineralization. and mafic underplating of. 1986) and is located within a region of complex plate tectonic relationships.1 wt % and Au <0. Hollings et al. and Sr/Pb and La/Pb ratios increase.
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