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Open AccessArticle

Trace Elements of Cu-(Fe)-Sulfide Inclusions in Bronze Age Copper Slags from South Urals and Kazakhstan: Ore Sources and Alloying Additions

1
Institute of Mineralogy South Urals Research Center of Mineralogy and Geoecology of the Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ilmeny Reserve, 456317 Miass, Russia
2
Geological Department, South Ural State University, Lenin av., 76, 454080 Chelyabinsk, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(12), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9120746 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 20 November 2019 / Accepted: 29 November 2019 / Published: 30 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metallurgical Slags)
In the paper, the results of an investigation into trace elements found in slag sulfides from 14 archaeological Bronze Age settlements of the Cis-Urals, Trans-Urals, and North and Central Kazakhstan are presented. The study used Cu-(Fe)-sulfides as indicator minerals. Cu-(Fe)-S minerals in slags are primarily represented by covellite and chalcocite, as well as by rarer bornite and single chalcopyrite grains. Slag sulfides formed relic clasts and neogenic droplets of different shapes and sizes. Supergenic ores in the Bronze Age in Urals and Kazakhstan played a significant role in the mineralogical raw material base. In sulfides, the main indicator elements, Fe, Co, Ni, As, Se, Te, Sb, Ag, Pb, and Bi, are important markers of copper deposit types. Sulfides from olivine Cr-rich spinel containing slags of Ustye, Turganik are characterized by As-Co-Ni high contents and confined to copper deposits in ultramafic rocks. Olivine sulfide-containing slags from Kamenny Ambar, Konoplyanka and Sarlybay 3 are characterized by Co-Se-Te assemblage and confined to mafic rocks. Glassy sulfide-containing slags from Katzbakh 6, Turganik, Ordynsky Ovrag, Ivanovskoe, Tokskoe, Bulanovskoe 2, Kuzminkovskoe 2, Pokrovskoe, Rodnikovoe, and Taldysay are characterized by Ag-Pb-(Ba)-(Bi) assemblage and confined to cupriferous sandstone deposits. High As, Sb, Sn, and Ba contents found in slags can be seen as indicators of alloying or flux components in primary copper smelting. These include samples from Ustye, Katzbakh 6, Rodnikovoe, and Taldysay sites, where high Ba and As slag contents are identified. The compilation of a database with a broad sample of sulfide compositions from Bronze Age slags and mines in the Urals and Kazakhstan will permit the further identification of ore types and raw materials associated with a particular deposit. View Full-Text
Keywords: copper slag; sulfide; chalcocite; covellite; bornite; LA-ICP-MS; South Ural; Kazakhstan; Bronze Age copper slag; sulfide; chalcocite; covellite; bornite; LA-ICP-MS; South Ural; Kazakhstan; Bronze Age
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Artemyev, D.A.; Ankushev, M.N. Trace Elements of Cu-(Fe)-Sulfide Inclusions in Bronze Age Copper Slags from South Urals and Kazakhstan: Ore Sources and Alloying Additions. Minerals 2019, 9, 746.

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