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Pohl W.L.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Biryabarema M.,Rwanda Natural Resources Authority | Lehmann B.,Clausthal University of Technology
Transactions of the Institutions of Mining and Metallurgy, Section B: Applied Earth Science | Year: 2014

The four metals of economic significance in the Central Africa or Great Lakes region, i.e. gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten, are part of one composite metallogenic system that operated about 980±20 Ma. The main driving agent was peraluminous ilmenite-series granite magmatism, synchronous with intracratonic compression and associated with the final amalgamation of the supercontinent Rodinia. The granitic melts were emplaced at intrusive levels of ≥2 kbar (≥8 km); the intrusions display a variable and often advanced degree of fractionation, including abundant Sn-Ta-Li-Be-Rb-Cs pegmatites, and are associated with hydrothermal systems enriched in tin, tungsten and/or gold. Based on cumulative past production and present metal prices, gold in hydrothermal quartz veins is the major commodity, followed by tin either in rare metal pegmatites or in sheeted, hydrothermal quartz veins. Many deposits in the province occur in siliciclastic metasedimentary, or metabasaltic roof rocks above parental granites; mainly in its western part, the zone of mineralisation retracts into the granite roof. Typically in the first case, antiformal sites acted as fluid escape zones, with carbonaceous or metabasaltic rocks as chemical traps for tungsten and gold. Examples of pegmatitic and magmatic-hydrothermal deposits are presented in some detail in order to illustrate characteristics and genetic controls, and to support the metallogenic hypothesis here advanced. Impeding strategic exploration, published elements of understanding the evolution and mineralisation of the Kibara belt are contradictory and essential links are missing, foremost an understanding of the 1 Ga flare up of fertile granites. Towards solving this conundrum we suggest that the key is delamination of the mantle lithosphere and dense mafic lower crust, residual after extraction of voluminous 1·38 Ga granitic melts. During pan-Rodinian orogenic events, the Tanganyika spur of the Tanzania craton acted as an indenter whose impact caused foundering of the early Kibaran lithosphere. Consequent influx of asthenospheric heat triggered large-scale crustal melting that resulted in the tin granites. The stress state was largely compressive but possibly punctuated by short or local extensional events. The correlation of geological evolution and mineralisation substantiates the formal recognition of a Kibara Metallogenic Domain, which is composed of two units: The Mesoproterozoic (1·4 Ga) Kabanga-Musongati nickel (±copper, cobalt, platinum) province; and the early Neoproterozoic (1 Ga) Kibara rare metal and gold province that is the main subject of this paper. The present understanding of the operating metallogenic systems remains limited. Regarding the application of modern concepts and technologies, this province is drastically underexplored. © 2013 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and The AusIMM.

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