Ten placer deposit models from five sedimentary environments

K J Stanaway
  • Applied Earth Science, March 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1179/1743275812y.0000000020

The where and how of heavy or higher density mineral deposit creation.

What is it about?

First revealed outside of Russia in the 1970's a new and little used understanding of placer deposits definitively demostrates the existence two end member types. This work shows, using explained examples, that the two-end-member model readily applies in five sedimentary settings ranging from rock weathering sites to the continental shelf.

Why is it important?

People have mined deposits of heavy and higher density minerals like gold, gemstones, jade and zircon for thousands of years without understanding that there were two kinds of such deposits. In recent decades huge tonnages of a titanomagnetite, ilmenite and zircon, so-called heavy-mineral placers, have been recognised for the first time in continental shelf sediments. The proposed models and these new discoveries suggest the as yet unrecognised possibility of placers in abyssal and bathyal sediments as well as high value mineral placers in special trap sites in condensed section or transgressive lag continental shelf sediments.


kerry stanaway

This paper is the result of 30 years exploring for, mining placer deposits. A different perspective on them was supplied by working not just on gold, but mostly with so-called heavy mineral or mineral sand deposits of ilmenite rutile chromite, titanomagnetite and zircon as well as fieldwork on marine diamond gravels.

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