Bayan Obo Controversy: Carbonatites versus Iron Oxide-Cu-Au-(REE-U)
Article first published online: 2 NOV 2008
© 2008 The Author Journal compilation © 2008 The Society of Resource Geology
Volume 58, Issue 4, pages 348–354, December 2008
How to Cite
Wu, C. (2008), Bayan Obo Controversy: Carbonatites versus Iron Oxide-Cu-Au-(REE-U). Resource Geology, 58: 348–354. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-3928.2008.00069.x
- Issue published online: 2 NOV 2008
- Article first published online: 2 NOV 2008
- Received 19 June 2007. Accepted for publication 27 December 2007.
- iron-oxide Cu-Au;
- ore genesis;
- rare earths
The Bayan Obo Fe-REE-Nb deposit is the world’s largest rare earth element (REE) resource and its genesis has been the subject of much debate for many years. The most popular are the carbonatite-related and hydrothermal Fe oxide-Cu-Au-(REE-U) genetic models. Comparisons of geologic setting, lithology, mineral assemblages, metal associations, geochemistry (particularly REE and light REE/heavy REE ratios), fluid chemistry and isotopics indicate that the Bayan Obo deposit shares features of both types, which are classified differently; that is, the carbonatites model is host-rock based, while the Fe oxide-Cu-Au-(REE-U) model is essentially mineral assemblage and metal association based. A speculative classification scheme is tentatively put forward to link the two models, but many questions remain for further studies.