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A study of ore and rock specimens from the Nkana mine, Northern Rhodesia Barker, Reginald Anthony

Abstract

The ore and rock specimens which form the material for this study are a collection sent by Mr. T. D. Guernsey, geologist for the Rhokana Corporation, Northern Rhodesia, to Dr. H. C. Gunning of this University under whose direction the present work was done. Owing to the lack of previous detailed work a microscopic investigation is undertaken with no particular problem in view, but with the hope that the accumulation of factual evidence may aid in clarifying the geological problems which have led to a diversity of opinion regarding the origin of these deposits. An historical sketch and a brief description of the geological setting of the Rhodesian copper deposits is given. This information has all been gathered from the available literature on the subject. The character and mineralogy of the ore deposits and relations to their northward extensions in Katanga, Belgian Congo are summarized. Descriptive notes, with interpretative remarks, of the lithology and ore mineralogy of the NKana 'Ore Horizon' as determined by a study of the 38 specimens and over 30 thin sections, constitute a major portion of the paper. General theories of ore genesis and supporting geological evidences are summarized for the purpose of clarifying the issues involved and to help in the erection of a theory for the Rhodesian copper deposits. Extant theories regarding these deposits are outlined and an analysis and synthesis of the evidence gathered in this investigation is presented. The framework of an epigenetic theory is constructed but mention is made that a meta-syngenetic (metamorphic-sedimentary) origin for these deposits is a possibility. Suggestions for further research both in the field and in the laboratory are given in the hope that they may in some way lend direction to subsequent investigations.

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