What is a porphyry copper deposit in geology ?

Porphyry copper deposit : definition

A porphyry copper deposit is a copper deposit located in a usually porphyritic granodiorite intrusion, hence its name, recent mountain ranges associated with subduction zones.

The largest deposits are located in the peri-Pacific chains, in the Andes (Chiquicamata, Chile) and the Rockies (Bingham, Utah). The low-grade ore (0.5 to 1.5% Cu) occurs in the form of disseminated sulphides and stockworks in granodiorite. The tonnages of these deposits, mined in the open pit, amount to hundreds of millions of tons of ore, sometimes much more (10 billion tons at Chiquicamata, 4 billion at Bingham).

The copper porphyry deposit constitute the world's largest reserves of copper and currently provide the bulk of the supply of this metal. They also provide significant amounts of molybdenum, and often gold.
Illustration of a copper porphyry - Source: https://www.pairform.fr


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