The Yanque prospect (Peru): from polymetallic Zn-Pb mineralization to a nonsulfide deposit

Mondillo, N; Boni, M; Balassone, G; Villa, Igor Maria (2014). The Yanque prospect (Peru): from polymetallic Zn-Pb mineralization to a nonsulfide deposit. Economic geology - bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists, 109(6), pp. 1735-1762. Economic Geology Pub. Co. 10.2113/econgeo.109.6.1735

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The Yanque nonsulfide Pb-Zn deposit (inferred resources 12.5 Mt @ 3.7% Pb and @ 3.5% Zn) is located in the Andahuaylas-Yauri ore province (Cuzco, southern Peru). The deposit occurs within a base metal mineralized district, centered on the medium-sized Dolores porphyry copper. A thorough geological, mineralogical and geochemical study has carried out in order to define: the relationships between the Dolores Cu-porphyry ore and the Yanque Zn-Pb polymetallic mineralization, and the characteristics of the economic nonsulfide concentrations.
Both sedimentary and igneous rocks constitute the backbone of the Yanque-Dolores area. The sedimentary lithologies belong to the Soraya, Mara and Ferrobamba Fms. (upper Jurassic-middle Cretaceous). The Yanque orebody is hosted by the Mara Fm., which prevailingly consists of a siliciclastic sedimentary breccia. The original sulfide mineralization consisted of galena, pyrite and sphalerite. The host rock has been affected by a strong hydrothermal alteration, characterized by prevailing sericite/illite, as in the typical porphyry-related phyllic-argillic alteration stage, and by minor kaolinite, dolomite and quartz. Minor element geochemistry, characterized by Sb, As, Mn, Ag and locally also by Cu, points to magmatic-hydrothermal related mineralizing fluids. The Pb isotopic compositions from Dolores and Yanque sulfides are similar, and are typical of the Tertiary magmatically-derived ores in this part of Peru. The hydrothermally altered rocks at Yanque have the same Pb isotopic compositions as the sulfides, thus confirming the hypothesis that the Yanque primary Zn-Pb mineralization may have been produced by hydrothermal circulation related to the emplacement of the Dolores Cu-porphyry, as it is the case of other porphyry Cu systems associated with polymetallic mineralization elsewhere. However, no simple genetic model for the mineralization involving just one fluid circulation episode is able to explain the data.
The Yanque economic nonsulfide ore association consists of sauconite, hemimorphite, smithsonite and cerussite, which result from the weathering and alteration of the original sulfide mineralization. Zinc is allocated mainly in sauconite (Zn-smectite), rather than in carbonates: a factor strictly related to the prevailing siliciclastic character of the host rock.
Distinctive features of the Yanque orebody are the comparable ore grades for both Pb and Zn (3.5% Zn and 3.7% Pb), and the inverse supergene chemical zoning. In fact, contrary to other supergene ores of this type, zinc prevails in the top zone of the Yanque deposit, whereas lead content increases with depth. Considering the different mobility of the two metals in solution, it may be assumed that most of the primary zinc that was the source for the Yanque nonsulfides was originally located far from the position occupied by the galena mineralization, whose remnants have been observed on site. Zinc sulfides may have been originally contained in the eroded rock volumes that surrounded the actual deposit: the zinc-rich solutions have possibly migrated through the siliciclastic Mara Fm. and precipitated the nonsulfide minerals by porosity filling and replacement processes. In this sense, the Yanque secondary Zn-Pb deposit could be considered as a special type of “Exotic” mineralization.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Villa, Igor Maria


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Economic Geology Pub. Co.




Igor Maria Villa-Toscani

Date Deposited:

02 Oct 2014 10:45

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 01:53

Publisher DOI:





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