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Gold Science and Technology ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (2): 175-189.doi: 10.11872/j.issn.1005-2518.2023.02.121

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Mineralogical Fingerprints of Co Metallogenesis in the Tuolugou Deposit,East Kunlun Orogen

Zhilin WANG1(),Kai ZHANG1,Deru XU2,Shaohao ZOU2,Yufei WANG1   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Metallogenic Prediction of Nonferrous Metals and Geological Environment Monitoring, Ministry of Education, School of Geosciences and Info-Physics, Central South University, Changsha 410083, Hunan, China
    2.State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Resources and Environment, East China University of Technology, Nanchang 330013, Jiangxi, China
  • Received:2022-09-18 Revised:2022-12-13 Online:2023-04-30 Published:2023-04-27


The demand for cobalt metals has accelerated due to the increased use of cobalt in high-technology industries,thus the security supply of cobalt ore resources has attracted attention worldwide.Cobalt,as one of the critical metals,is in an acute shortage in China.The East Kunlun Orogen is a significant Au-Cu-Fe-Co-Ni-Pb-Zn polymetallic metallogenic belt in western China.The Tuolugou Co(Au) deposit has great reputation as the first large independent cobalt deposit discovered in the northwestern China,whereas the understanding of the metallogenic process of Co is controversial.By combining EPMA and EBSD analyses,together with the field investigation and detailed microscopic observation,the paper revealed the sedimentary exhalative mineralization and superimposed reworking process responsible for the formation of the Tuolugou deposit.The sedimentary exhalative mineralization formed the fine-grained pyrite(PyⅠ),and the superimposed reworking process consists of two mineralizing stages,i.e.,fine-grained pyrite (PyⅡ)+cobaltite+gersdorffite+siegenite+pyrrhotite+minor chalcopyrite stage and coarse-grained pyrite (PyⅢ)+native Au stage.The three generations of pyrite have different chemical compositions,of which PyⅠ has Co contents ranging from 0.03% to 4.86%,PyⅡ ranging from 0.38% to 2.74% and PyⅢ ranging from 0.03% to 0.58%.The obvious negative correlations of Co with Fe uncover that Co exists in the pyrite lattice by stoichiometric substitution of Fe.These results concluded that Co occurs as either independent minerals(e.g.,cobaltite,gersdorffite and siegenite) or cobaltiferous pyrite in the Tuolugou deposit.The EMPA mappings depict that pyrite has complicated textural and chemical compositions,which suggest that the composite pyrite grains were formed by fluid-mediated coupled dissolution-reprecipitation reactions according to the sharp contact boundaries,the distinct chemical compositions,and the consistent morphology and crystallographic orientation among different generations of pyrite in EBSD inverse maps.In combination with the previous work,it is deduced that both the sedimentary exhalative mineralization and subsequent reworking process contributed Co mineralization in the Tuolugou deposit.This study provides a useful guide for the Co mineral exploration and efficient metallurgy in the eastern Kunlun Orogenic Belt.

Key words: cobalt, pyrite, cobaltite, enrichment and mineralization, Tuolugou deposit, east Kunlun Orogen

CLC Number: 

  • P618.62


Tectonic location (a) and regional geological map(b) of the East Kunlun Terrane (modified after Feng et al.,2004)"


Simplified geological map of the Tuolugou deposit(modified after Kui et al.,2019)"


Simplified section of No.108 exploration line of the Tuolugou deposit(modified after Kui et al.,2019)"


Features of ores and alteration mineralization of surrounding rock from the southern and northern ore belts in the Tuolugou deposit"


Mineralogical characteristics of sulfides in the Tuolugou deposit"

Table 1

Analysis results of chemical compositions of pyrite in Tuolugou deposit by EPMA(%)"



Box diagram of element contents of pyrite from different generations"


Plot of the EMPA analyses of pyrite in the Tuolugou deposit"


EPMA element surface scanning image of pyrite in the Tuolugou deposit"


EBSD phase(a) and inverse pole maps(b) of pyrite in the Tuolugou deposit"

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