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Keywords:

  • Batu Hijau;
  • fluid inclusion;
  • Indonesia;
  • porphyry Cu-Au

Abstract

The Batu Hijau deposit is the only porphyry type deposit in production in the Sunda-Banda arc, Indonesia. This study discusses the reason for the localization of copper grade at the deep part of the deposit based on the observation of opaque mineral assemblage. In addition, the formation condition of quartz veins and opaque minerals is discussed on the basis of the fluid inclusion microthermometry. Samples were selected from drill holes SBD100, SBD168, SBD194, SBD254, and SBD257 to cover the wide vertical range.

At the Batu Hijau deposit, quartz veins have been classified mainly into four types called A, B, C and D veins, and the A veins contain mainly bornite, often associated with digenite and chalcocite. In addition, magnetite occurs in A veins. However, at the deep part of the deposit, there are quartz veins associated with magnetite, but few copper sulfides such as bornite and chalcopyrite in quartz veins, as observed in SBD257.

Quartz veins at depth in SBD257 have abundant magnetite and pyrite. Pyrite in quartz veins at depth in SBD257 mainly occur at the rim of magnetite grains or interstices between them. In quartz veins in SBD254, there are abundant copper sulfides such as bornite and chalcopyrite in spite of the depth. Bornite and chalcopyrite occur as inclusions in magnetite grains in quartz veins in SBD254. Pyrite which often occurs in low grade zone in quartz veins in SBD254 is also recognized at the rims of copper sulfides. This indicates that pyrite in SBD257 and SBD254 formed later than magnetite. On the other hand, blebs of bornite and chalcopyrite inclusions in magnetite grains, which are recognized in quartz veins in SBD168 at shallow high grade part, suggest that the hydrothermal fluid, from which magnetite was deposited also brought the copper sulfides such as bornite and chalcopyrite to the deep part of the Batu Hijau deposit. Therefore, it is concluded that initially the high grade ore zone extended to depth without localization. However due to the later overprinting hydrothermal activity, copper sulfides and magnetite were replaced or dissolved and pyrite was formed, resulting the low grade zone at the deep part of the deposit.

Dissolution temperatures (Td) of halite obtained by from fluid inclusion microthermometry show significant differences between SBD168 and other drill holes. The high Td obtained in SBD168 may indicate larger volume of NaCl crystals in hydrothermal fluid at the time of entrapment of the fluid inclusions and formation of other opaque minerals such as magnetite and copper-iron sulfides. It suggests that the ratio of vapor to brine is also higher at the shallow part of the deposit. The higher vapor to brine ratio may suggest a higher degree of boiling. Removal of vapor phase separated from brine during boiling increases the concentration of substances dissolved in the brine, and this will result in saturation, as evidenced by the salinity and NaCl saturation. The higher degree of boiling suggested by the higher vapor to brine ratio at shallow part may have increased the copper concentration in the brine that may have lead the saturation, resulted in the deposition of copper-bearing minerals.