Metallogenesis and Exploration Potential of the Neoproterozoic Saldanian Belt in the Southwestern Cape Province, South Africa

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1994

A. ROZENDAAL and R. SCHEEPERS, Department of Geology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Mineral deposits and prospects of the Pan African Saldanian erogenic belt in the southwestern Cape Province South Africa, are reviewed. Despite the entire absence of operating base or precious metal mines in the area, this study has established at least four metal associations that offer enticing exploration potential. The poly-phase deformed, low-grade metamorphosed volcano-sedimentary Malmesbury Group constitutes a complex, poorly understood supracrustal sequence that has been loosely subdivided into the Tygerberg, Swartland and Boland tectono-stratigraphic terranes by northwesterly trending fault zones. Syn- and post-tectonic granitoids of the Cape Granite Suite selectively intruded these terranes. Early S-types preferred the Tygerberg terrane whereas the later I-types dominate the remaining areas. Anorogenic A-type granites, however, occur in all three domains. Known metallization is directly or indirectly related to the intrusives, yet syngenetic deposits are conspicuously absent from the supracrustals. Four metal associations have been identified. • Cassiterite-wolframite (± Au, Cu, Mo, Fe-sulfides) in quartz and quartz/aplite veins hosted by tourmalinized and locally greissenized S-type granite. Similar exo-granitic veins occur in proximal metamorphites. • Juxtaposed disseminated, stockwork, breccia and vein style Cu-Mo-Fe-(Au)-sulfide mineralization hosted by mafic to intermediate intrusives of high K calc-alkaline, I-type affinity. • Cu-Mo-Au-sulfides hosted by hydraulic breccia pipes, stocks and veins occurring in anorogenic A-type alkali feldspar granites and amphibole quartz syenites. • Scheelite with minor Cu-Mo-sulfides and Au-associated with endo- and exo-skarns spatially related to I-type monzogranite, granite and alkali feldspar granite. The first three associations occur along the Yzerfontein-Helderberg-Zone, a 180 km lineament in the Tygerberg terrane, a zone exploited by post-tectonic intrusives and their related mineralization. The fourth association is typical of the Boland terrane. The spatial and temporal relationships between the various metal associations is interpreted as the result of sequential intrusion of relative early high level S-type, followed by intermediate level I-type and finally anorogenic A-type granitoids during the evolution of a contracting continental margin arc and its inner arc. This plate tectonic setting suggests subduction in an easterly direction underneath the Kalahari craton. The spatial configuration of the various terranes at the present erosional levels is the result of rifting and significant differential vertical displacement following cessation of subduction, a terminal tectonic event possibly synchronous with intrusion of the A-type granitoids. Near surface preserved roof zones and cupolas of both S- and I-type granitoids in the Tygerberg and Boland terranes, respectively, render these areas extremely prospective for Sn, W, Mo and Au mineralization. The presence of intermediate to mafic volcanics, a diversity of calcareous lithotypes and favorable plate tectonic setting of the Malmesbury Group suggest potential for the thus far elusive VMS, MVT and Sedex base metal and minor precious metal deposits.