Geology of Western Australian Iron Ore

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1973
The main iron ore deposits of Western Australia fall into three very different geological classes, which are, in order of importance: hematite enrichment ore, pisolitic limonite ore, and sedimentary ore. These are presently (1973) being mined in the approximate proportions 20 : 2 : 1, while the equivalent proportions for reserves are, very approximately, 200 : 70 : 1. Two minor categories which mar- ginally qualify as ore are detrital material variously referred to as scree ore or canga, and potentially beneficiable iron formation. These two latter types are dealt with very briefly, and the three main categories are dis- cussed in order of economic significance. Hematite enrichment ore results from the selective replacement of a pre-existing host rock by hematite. Almost without exception, this host is cherty banded iron formation (BIF); but certain exceptions have great genetic inter- est. Ore bodies of this kind occur both in the Archaean BIFs of the Pilbara and Yilgarn Blocks and in the Proterozoic BIFs of'the Hamersley Basin. It follows from their virtual restriction to a single kind of sedimentary host that there is strong stratigraphic control over the shape of ore bodies: these may be almost flat, of dyke-like form, or of complex configuration, according to the pre-enrichment structure of the host bed. This structure was an important control over the position in which ore formed:
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