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Occurrence of supergene nickel ores in the Ha Tri Massive, Hoa An District, Cao Bang Province

Nguyen Van Pho, Pham Tich Xuan, Pham Thanh Dang

Abstract


Nickel (Ni) laterites are regolith materials derived from ultramafic rocks and play an important role in the world's Ni production. Ni-laterite deposits are the supergene enrichment of Ni formed from the intense chemical and mechanical weathering of ultramafic parental rocks. In Vietnam, the weathering profile containing Ni laterite was first discovered in the Ha Tri massive (Cao Bang). This profile develops on the Ha Tri serpentinized peridotite rocks classified to the Cao Bang mafic-ultramafic complex (North Vietnam) and exhibits thick weathered zone (10 - 15m). This work carried out a detailed study of the weathering profile at the center of Ha Tri massive. Samples from different horizons of the profile were collected and analyzed in detail by XRF, XRD and SEM-EDX methods to establish the relationship between the Ni-rich supergene products and the parental peridotites (lherzolite) rocks in Ha Tri massive. The results show that the saprolite horizon is most Ni-rich in the weathering profile in Ha Tri. In this horizon, Ni-silicate minerals of garnierite group such as pimelite, nepouite and other Mg-Ni silicates have been found. The appearance of minerals of garnierite group is due to the exchange of Mg by Ni during weathering of peridotite minerals, especially olivine, which leads to the enrichment of the supergene Ni. The occurrence of Ni silicates suggests the existence of the supergene Ni ore in the weathering profile of the Ha Tri massive.

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Keywords


Supergene nickel ore; weathering profile; Ha Tri peridotites; garnierite; Ni-enriched clay minerals

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15625/0866-7187/40/2/11676

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Vietnam Journal of Earth Sciences, ISSN: 0866 - 7187

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