Cupriferous Peat: Embryonic · Copper Ore

CIM Bulletin, 1961


Copper occurs invisibly in a geological environment characterized by swampy conditions and an accumulation of forest peat. This swamp, located in southeastern New Brunswick, contains up to ten per cent copper (dry weight), in the organic sediments. This occurrence appears unique in that the metal is apparently organically combined in a chelate compound. Unlike the acidic nature of most peat bogs, the pH of the cupriferous peat is nearly neutral. Analyses of the peat and associated soils have indicated that the bulk of the copper is contained in the organic sediments. It appears that the copper distribution is affected by capillarity, evaporation and the growth of frost crystals, and that the copper fixation is effected by organic sequestration resulting in the metal being bound to the nitrogen or oxygen components of the forest peat. While such a fixation mechanism is not definitely established as responsible for the immobilization of the metal, the facts at hand are compatible with this preferred hypothesis, which not only accounts for the invisibility of the copper substance, but also explains its relative restriction to the organic sediments. The conclusions reached regarding the nature of this swamp environment appear to offer a possible explanation for the genesis of certain indurated bedded copper deposits. It is suggested that the chelation mechanism of copper concentration may have been a factor in the localization ()f other deposits in the geologic past.
Keywords: chelate, copper, loam, peat, Tantrarnar swamp, Concentration, copper, Materials, metals, Nitrogen, Peat, pH, sediments