The Primary Ore Mineralogy of the Alderley Edge Deposit, Cheshire

R. A. Ixer and D. J. Vaughan
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Aston in Birmingham, Gosta Green, Birmingham B4 7ET

Abstract: The Alderley Edge deposit, Cheshire, England has been mined principally for Cu and Pb. Here, veins and disseminations occur in coarse-grained clastic sediments of Triassic age and are classified as belonging to the red-bed type of mineralization.

Examination of material in polished and thin section has shown the mineralization to be multiphase. The earliest opaque phases are associated with the diagenesis of the sandstones and include authigenic anatase, plus bravoite, pyrite, and chalcopyrite within authigenic quartz overgrowths. This stage of mineralization was followed by the formation of intergrown bravoite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and galena accompanied by minor amounts of Ni-Co-Fe sulpharsenides, marcasite, and tetrahedrite cementing the clastic grains. This primary assemblage has undergone extensive alteration resulting in the formation of djurleite, covelline, and blaubleibender covelline accompanied by Pb and Zn carbonates and sulphates. Later, extensive shattering of the cemented clastic grains has been infilled by supergene Cu, Pb, and Zn carbonates and sulphates, limonite, and other secondary minerals.

Electron probe microanalysis of the sulphides shows the pyrite to contain significant Ni and Cu but lesser amounts of Co; the sphalerite to be an Fe-poor variety but to contain Cd, and the chalcopyrite to contain Sb. Ag is present in appreciable amounts in tetrahedrite and occurs in trace amounts in both sphalerite and chalcopyrite but not in galena. The concentration of Ag increases with the alteration of the primary sulphides to secondary sulphides. This is most clearly demonstrated by the alteration of chalcopyrite to an idaite-like phase and finally to djurleite when the Ag content increases from 0.10 to 2.35 wt. %.

Mineralogical Magazine; December 1982 v. 46; no. 341; p. 485-492; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1982.046.341.14
© 1982, The Mineralogical Society
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