Project title: Geology of the Lubambe Cu-Co deposit, Zambia
Researcher: Dr Aileen Doran
As the world continues to grow and transition to greener technologies, we are going to need more raw materials to facilitate this change. Many materials (e.g., copper, cobalt, zinc) are fundamental for the generation of green technologies like wind turbines and electric vehicles. But, currently, there are not enough of these materials to supply world demand, and so we need to find more to facilitate these changes. Through improving our understanding of how these deposits form, we can help to predict where more resources may be. My research looks at sedimentary-hosted mineral deposits to better constrain the processes that led to ore formation of systems like these.
The Central African Copperbelt is host to the world’s largest and highest-grade sediment-hosted Cu(-Co) deposits, with mineralization associated with the Neoproterozoic Kantangen Supergroup metasedimentary units. Often, the full sedimentary sequence (from Lower Roan through Nguba to Kundulungu groups) is rarely observed in separate drillholes across the Copperbelt. The Lubambe Copper Mine (previously Konkola North), is a high-grade stratiform Cu-Co deposit located at the northern end of the Zambian Copperbelt. This research project focuses on recent deep (1.5 km+) drillholes to the southeast of the Lubambe mine (Lubambe Extension) which have intercepted rocks from the Mindola Clastics Formation of the Lower Roan Group up to the Katete Formation in the Nguba Group. This work will explore original depositional processes and post-depositional diagenetic and hydrothermal alteration, along with geochemically characterizing the overall sequence. The results will allow for facies correlation with other regional studies currently being carried out at iCRAG, along with relating the small- to larger-scale processes to further constrain depositional, mineralizing, and alteration processes at the Lubambe mine.