Types and geological characteristics of iron deposits in China

Li, Hou-Min, Li, Li-Xing, and Cheng, Yan-Bo (2015) Types and geological characteristics of iron deposits in China. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 103. pp. 2-22.

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China has the largest global demand for iron ore resources, with more than 50% of its demand presently being met from foreign sources. Iron resources are abundant in China (ca. 80 billion tons of proven iron ores), but high-grade ores are scarce. Most iron deposits in China are low in grade, with an average grade of 30.62% TFe. The iron deposits in China are divided into six types: sedimentary–metamorphic, magmatic Fe–Ti–(V), volcanic rock-hosted, contact metasomatic–hydrothermal (mostly skarn), sedimentary, and weathering–leaching type. Sedimentary–metamorphic iron deposits, which are mainly distributed in the North China Craton, are dominated by highly metamorphosed and deformed BIF-related iron deposits. Although these ores average only 30.35% TFe, their coarse-grained magnetite is easily recovered during processing. Sedimentary–metamorphic iron deposits are the most common of the iron deposit types in China and account for approximately 56.3% of the proven ore reserves in the country. Iron skarn deposits in China occur along or near the contact zones between Mesozoic intermediate-felsic, medium- to shallow-level intrusions and carbonate country rocks. They are one of the most important suppliers of high-grade magnetite ores in China. Magmatic Fe–Ti–(V) deposits, which formed in Proterozoic basement rocks during the late Paleozoic Hercynian orogeny, are hosted by mafic–ultramafic complexes with Ti–V-rich magnetite as the major iron ore mineral. Volcanic rock-hosted iron deposits are divided into those hosted by marine and continental volcanic rocks, with magnetite as the main ore mineral in both. Marine volcanic rock-hosted iron deposits are mainly distributed in late Paleozoic rocks of the Altaishan and Tianshan Mountains in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Continental volcanic rock-hosted iron deposits are mainly distributed in the Yanshanian (late Mesozoic) Na-rich intermediate-mafic rocks of the Ningwu and Luzong basins in the Middle–Lower Yangtze River Valley. Sedimentary-type iron deposits are dominantly hosted in Devonian clastic marine formations in southern China and in Mesoproterozoic marine strata in northern China, with hematite as main ore mineral. All of the weathering–leaching iron deposits in China are small in scale, and they have little economic value.

Item ID: 43756
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-5786
Keywords: iron, mineral deposit type, ore reserves, China
Funders: National Basic Research Program of China (NBRP), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSF), Special Research Funding for the Public Benefits (SRFPB) Sponsored by MLR of China, Geological Survey Project of China (GSPC)
Projects and Grants: NBRP Program 973 2012CB416801, NNSF Grant No. 41272102, SRFPB 200911007-15, SRFPB 20111002, GSPC 12120113090400
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2016 02:31
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040307 Ore Deposit Petrology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840104 Iron Ore Exploration @ 100%
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