Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Cordeiro P.F.O., Oliveira C.G., Paniago L.N., Romagna G. and Santos R.V. (2018)

The carbonate-hosted MVT Morro Agudo Zn-Pb deposit, central Brazil

Revista : Ore Geology Reviews
Volumen : 101
Páginas : 437-452
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Morro Agudo is the largest known Mississippi-Valley Type deposit (MVT) in Brazil with original estimated reserves of 18.3 Mt @ 5.08% Zn and 1.75% Pb of which 3.92 Mt@ 4% Zn and 1.45% Pb remained in 2017. In spite of having been mined for more than 30 years, a comprehensive study of Morro Agudo metallogenic features was still lacking in the international literature. This deposit is hosted within the 250 km long Vazante Sequence, a N-S-trending Mesoproterozoic-Neoproterozoic carbonate-dominant sedimentary sequence thrusted over Neoproterozoic rocks during the Brasiliano Orogeny. Sulfide bodies in Morro Agudo are restricted to the Morro do Calcário Formation as a 1300 m long ore envelope averaging 9 m thick, comprising stacked up stratabound orebodies that thin out down dip and are limited to the NE by the Main Fault. Five orebodies are described: (a) Breccia-hosted orebody “GHI”, (b) Sphalerite-rich doloarenite orebody “JK”, (c) Galena-rich doloarenite orebody “L”; (d) Lower replaced stratiform orebody “M”; (e) Upper replaced stratiform orebody “N”. Comparison of these orebodies reveals mineral zonation patterns and variations in Zn-Pb grade consistent with sulfide textural relationships. These relationships indicate five mineralization styles that provide spatial and timing constraints for Morro Agudo; (a) Stratiform sulfides, (b) Massive Ore, (c) Laminated Ore, (d) Breccia-hosted Ore, (e) Late stage fracture-filling Ore. Carbon and oxygen stable isotope data for each mineralization style shows a pattern of mixing of signatures of mineralizing fluids and barren host rocks and supports our interpretation that these mineralization styles occurred in more than one stage of ore formation. The ore was later offset by a set of strike slip normal faults associated with compression related to the Brasiliano Orogeny, of which the Main Fault (Falha Principal) is the most important because it limits the deposit to the NE. Previous interpretation of upper orebodies as part of a SEDEX system is revisited in the present work. In our model, data used to support a syngenetic origin for Morro Agudo, such as synsedimentary structures, Pb isotopes in sulfides and fluid inclusion data indicate a younger, barren generation of sulfides deposited long before Zn-Pb mineralization, during sedimentation of the Morro do Calcário Formation in the Mesoproterozoic. These early sulfides were preserved in cherts and as massive pyrite beds that were later overprinted by sphalerite and galena. Overprinting thus mixed Meso and Neoproterozoic Pb isotopic sources and led to a long standing argument over whether the Morro Agudo ores were syngenetic or epigenetic. This interpretation is also in agreement with the current classification of the Vazante Sequence as containing imbricated Neoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic sedimentary rocks. Based on our work of sulfide textural relationships, stable isotopes, whole-rock geochemistry and previously published data, we argue that Morro Agudo ores formed by at least two stages of percolation of mildly hot hydrothermal fluid in the Neoproterozoic. The primary reason for sulfide precipitation is interpreted to be mixing of mildly-hot, metal-bearing basinal brines and seawater/connate waters.