Journal of African Earth Sciences vol:79 pages:10-23
The Konkola deposit is a high grade stratiform Cu–Co ore deposit in the Central African Copperbelt in Zambia. Economic mineralisation is confined to the Ore Shale formation, part of the Neoproterozoic metasedimentary rocks of the Katanga Supergroup. Petrographic study reveals that the copper–cobalt ore minerals are disseminated within the host rock, sometimes concentrated along bedding planes, often associated with dolomitic bands or clustered in cemented lenses and in layer-parallel and irregular veins. The hypogene sulphide mineralogy consists predominantly of chalcopyrite, bornite and chalcocite. Based upon relationships with metamorphic biotite, vein sulphides and most of the sulphides in cemented lenses were precipitated during or after biotite zone greenschist facies metamorphism. New δ34S values of sulphides from the Konkola deposit are presented. The sulphur isotope values range from −8.7‰ to +1.4‰ V-CDT for chalcopyrite from all mineralising phases and from −4.4‰ to +2.0‰ V-CDT for secondary chalcocite. Similarities in δ34S for sulphides from different vein generations, earlier sulphides and secondary chalcocite can be explained by (re)mobilisation of S from earlier formed sulphide phases, an interpretation strongly supported by the petrographic evidence. Deep supergene enrichment and leaching occurs up to a km in depth, predominantly in the form of secondary chalcocite, goethite and malachite and is often associated with zones of high permeability. Detailed distribution maps of total copper and total cobalt contents of the Ore Shale formation show a close relationship between structural features and higher copper and lower cobalt contents, relative to other areas of the mine. Structural features include the Kirilabombwe anticline and fault zones along the axial plane and two fault zones in the southern limb of the anticline. Cobalt and copper behave differently in relation to these structural features. These structures are interpreted to have played a significant role in (re)mobilisation and concentration of the metals, in agreement with observations made elsewhere in the Zambian Copperbelt.