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Open AccessArticle

3D Modeling of the Epembe (Namibia) Nb-Ta-P-(LREE) Carbonatite Deposit: New Insights into Geometry Related to Rare Metal Enrichment

Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, Division “Exploration Technology”, Chemnitzer Str. 40, 09599 Freiberg, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Landesamt für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie, Halsbrücker Str. 31a, 09599 Freiberg, Germany.
Minerals 2018, 8(12), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8120600
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward Mineral Systems for HFSE Rare Metals)
Geological 3D modeling delivers essential information on the distribution of enrichment zones and structures in (complex) mineral deposits and fosters a better guidance to subsequent exploration stages. The Paleoproterozoic Epembe carbonatite complex showcases the close relation between enrichment of specific elements (Nb, Ta, P, Total Rare Earth Element (TREE) + Y) and shear zones by structural modeling combined with geochemical interpolation. Three-dimensional fault surfaces based on structural field observations, geological maps, cross-sections, and drillhole data are visualized. The model shows a complex, dextral transpressive fault system. Three-dimensional interpolation of geochemical data demonstrates enrichment of Nb, Ta, P, and TREE + Y in small, isolated, lens-shaped, high-grade zones in close spatial distance to faults. Based on various indicators (e.g., oscillating variograms, monazite rims around the apatite) and field evidence, we see evidence for enrichment during hydrothermal (re-)mobilization rather than due to magmatic differentiation related to the formation of the alkaline system. This is further supported by geostatistical analysis of the three-dimensional distribution of Nb, Ta, P, and Light Rare Earth Elements (LREE) with respect to discrete shear zones. View Full-Text
Keywords: Namibia; carbonatite; 3D modeling; REE; GoCAD Namibia; carbonatite; 3D modeling; REE; GoCAD
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Unger, G.; Zimmermann, R.; Gloaguen, R. 3D Modeling of the Epembe (Namibia) Nb-Ta-P-(LREE) Carbonatite Deposit: New Insights into Geometry Related to Rare Metal Enrichment. Minerals 2018, 8, 600.

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