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Yaogangxian Mine, Yaogangxian W-Sn ore field, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China
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Ferberite
Yaogangxian Mine, Yaogangxian W-Sn ore field, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China

Photo: Dan & Diana Weinrich
Latitude: 25°38'35"N
Longitude: 113°19'17"E
 
Name(s) in local language(s): 瑶岗仙矿, 瑶岗仙钨锡矿田, 宜章县, 郴州市, 湖南省, 中国
 
Tungsten-tin deposit in the contact aureole of the Mesozoic Yaogangxian composite pluton (consisting of coarse-grained biotite granite, fine-grained porphyritic granite and quartz porphyry), which intruded into Cambrian-Devonian sediments (mainly sandstones) and Jurassic limestones. The mine field covers an area of about 4 x 2.5 km and includes two large deposits of distinct type and mineralization style:

(1) The Yaogangxian quartz vein-type tungsten-tin deposit with minor greisen-style mineralization, which has been mined since 1914. The veins are hosted in the biotite granite phase of the Yaogangxian pluton and in its western and northern contact zone. They trend NW to NNW and are grouped in three vein swarms (ore blocks), from west to east: Yangmeiling, Luchangping and Hamashi. The ore bodies contain minor copper, silver, lead, zinc and bismuth minerals. They are strongly zoned both vertically and horizontally. Another group of veins with economic tungsten grades was recently discovered at depth southwest of the Yangmeiling ore block (Yan et al., 2010).
(2) The Heshangtan skarn-type tungsten-tin deposit, which was discovered in 1947, explored during the 1950s and has been mined since the early 1960s. The ore bodies are hosted in Devonian sandstone and skarnized slate in the eastern contact zone of the Yaogangxian pluton. They contain significant amounts of associated silver ores.

The mineral list includes all species reported from both deposit types, since there is often no clear distinction made in papers on the Yaogangxian mine, especially in western publications. Apart from the obvious differences between quartz vein and skarn mineralization, there also are some notable differences in the ore mineral assemblages:

(1) Except for bismuthinite, which has been reported from the skarn ore bodies (Xu, 1957) and as microscopic constituent of greisen inclusions in the host granite (Zhou et al., 2013), bismuthiferous minerals have only been reported from the vein-type ore bodies.
(2) Most of the silver minerals and most of the sulfosalts have only been reported from the skarn ore bodies.
(3) All wolframites from the vein-type ore bodies have a significant excess of manganese over iron and are thus hübnerites (Chen, 1981).


IMPORTANT NOTES:
(1)
All fibrous sulphosalts are notoriously traded by Chinese dealers as "bismuthinite". Analyses have shown, however, that they are mostly stibnite, or, more rarely, boulangerite, jamesonite, berthierite, kobellite or cosalite (Jensen, 2009; Ottens, 2011). According to Jensen (2009), independent bismuth minerals listed in earlier reports were never confirmed in a very large number of analyses. Saul Krotki (personal communication, October 10, 2009) had a "bismuthinite" from this locality analyzed by semiquantitative microprobe by CannonMicroprobe and the composition was very bismuthian and ambiguously stibnite/bismuthinite.
These findings do not necessarily discredit all earlier reports on bismuthiferous minerals, since it has to be kept in mind that all parts of the deposit were mined long before the first specimens appeared on the western market in the early 1990s, that mineralization zoning is a common phenomenon in intrusion-related deposits, and thus a different mineral assemblage may have been found in parts that are now mined out. They indicate however, that bismuth minerals are now rare at this locality, if they can still be found at all. Microscopic bismuthinite has been recently found in greisen inclusions in the host granite (Zhou et al., 2013).
(2) Reports on the chemical composition of wolframite are not conclusive. Data presented by Chen (1981) show a significant excess of manganese over iron (Fe:Mn ranging from 1:4 to 3:4) in all analyzed samples of wolframite from the vein-type ore bodies. Ottens and Cook (2005) however state that wolframite is predominantly ferberite and hübnerite was only found in one single pocket, suggesting that their samples came mainly (all ?) from the skarn-type ore bodies. Ottens (2011) states that the Fe:Mn ratio is variable, ranging from 2:1 to 1:2 even in black crystals, but which deposit the specimens came from is not known. Consequently, wolframites from the vein-type ore bodies are almost certainly hübnerite, while specimens from the skarns or an unknown location within the mine field need to be analyzed to identify the species.
(3) Beryl is listed from the mine, but decent specimens are not known. In particular, the "goshenites" sold by some dealers do not come from the Yaogangxian mine, but actually from Pingwu, Sichuan Province.
(4) Molybdenite is one of the main ore minerals, but does not occur in decent specimens. Molybdenites in trade attributed to this locality are really from different localities, many of them probably from the Piaotang mine in Dayu.
(5) Freibergite has been reported by Chinese authors (Zheng, 1989; Zhou et al., 2002), but an analysis to confirm its identity is lacking. In fact, in many reports by Chinese authors, the name "freibergite" refers to silver-rich tetrahedrite and not to true freibergite in which silver is dominant over copper. Analyses of some of the "freibergite" specimens in trade showed them to be argentian tetrahedrite.
(6) Alleged bertrandite specimens from here were really from the Liubao mine in Guangxi Province (Disputed by Berthold Ottens !). Another possible occurrence is the Jiepailing Mine, which works a beryllium-rich deposit in the southernmost part of the Yaogangxian ore field.

Mindat Articles

Chinese Minerals Hunting trip in GuiLin,Chenzhou,Ganzhou area 20100312 by XiaoJun Chen
Stannite, Kesterite, Owyheeite and other Yaogangxian friends by Jean-Francois Carpentier
Yaogangxian mine, China Minerals Hunting trip, 2009 Aug 26th to 31th by XiaoJun Chen


Mineral List

Actinolite
Albite
Ankerite
Arsenopyrite
Bavenite
Berthierite
Bertrandite ?
Beryl
Beudantite
'Biotite'
Bismuthinite
Bismutite ?
Bornite ?
Boulangerite
Bournonite
Brochantite
Calcite
var: Argentine
var: Manganoan Calcite
Cassiterite
Chalcopyrite
Chamosite
Clinochlore
Cookeite ?
Cosalite
Diopside
Dolomite
Dyscrasite
Epidote
Euclase
Ferberite
Ferrokesterite
Fluorapatite
Fluorite
Freibergite
Galena
Galenobismutite
Goethite
Grossular
Gustavite
Gypsum
Helvine
Hessite
Hübnerite
Hydrobiotite
Jamesonite
Kaňkite
Kaolinite
Kobellite
Kutnohorite
Laumontite
Lepidolite
Malachite
Marcasite
Miargyrite
Molybdenite
Muscovite
var: Ferrimuscovite
var: Lithian Muscovite
var: Sericite
'Olivine'
Orthoclase
Phlogopite
Pyrargyrite
Pyrite
Pyrrhotite
Quartz
var: Milky Quartz
var: Rock Crystal
Ramdohrite
Rhodochrosite
Scheelite
Semseyite
Siderite
Silver
Sphalerite
Stannite
Stephanite
Stibnite
Stolzite
Stromeyerite
Tetrahedrite
var: Argentian Tetrahedrite
Topaz
'Tourmaline'
Tremolite
Tungstite
Vesuvianite
Wurtzite ?
Zircon


90 entries listed. 79 valid minerals.

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References

Keqin Xu (1957): Discovery of pyrometasomatic scheelite deposits near a wolframite-producing district in southern China, and a discussion about the origin of these two classes of deposits. Acta Geologica Sinica 37(2), 117-153.

Yirang Chen (1981): Geology and Prospecting of the Yaogangxian vein tungsten deposit. Geology and Prospecting 17(2), 25-30.

Ruilong Qiu (1984): Wall rock alterations of a "five-storied" vein-type tungsten deposit at Yaogangxian, Hunan province. Mineral Deposits 3(2), 68-75 (in Chinese with English abstract).

Nanshi Zheng (1989): Physicochemical conditions of argentian tetrahedrite-fredericite [freibergite] formation from a tungsten deposit in Hunan Province. Journal of Mineralogy and Petrology 10(3), 87-93.

Yirang Chen (1992): Analysis of the control factors and conditions of the mineralization in Yaogangxian ore field, Yizhang County, Hunan. Hunan Geology 11(4), 285-293 (in Chinese with English abstract).

Deyi Liu (1994): Typomorphic peculiarities of quartz in the Yaogangxian tungsten deposit, Hunan. Acta Mineralogica Sinica 14(1), 74-82 (in Chinese with English abstract).

Keqin Xu, Jiyue Xue, Yang Ding, and Guanglie Lü (1995): Discovery of stolzite in China and refinement of its crystal structure. Acta Geologica Sinica, English Edition 8(1), 111-116.

Bosheng Zhou, Guohua Zhang, Shuqing Gong, and Yousheng Zeng (2002): Characteristics of geochemical anomalies and ore-search prospects in the Yaogangxian ore field, Hunan Province. Geophysical & Geochemical Exploration 26(6), 436-438.

Ottens, B. and Cook, R.B. (2005): The Yaogangxian tungsten mine, Yizhang County, Chenzhou, Hunan Province, China. Rocks & Minerals 80(1), 46-57.

Jiantang Peng, Meifu Zhou, Ruizhong Hu, Nengping Shen, Shunda Yuan, Xianwu Bi, Andao Du, and Wenjun Qu (2006): Precise molybdenite Re–Os and mica Ar–Ar dating of the Mesozoic Yaogangxian tungsten deposit, central Nanling district, South China. Mineralium Deposita 41, 661-669.

Xiaofeng Cao, Xinbiao Lü, Mouchun He, Hong Niu, Baofeng Du, and Wei Mei (2009): An infrared microscope investigation of fluid inclusions in coexisting quartz and wolframite: A case study of Yaogangxian quartz-vein wolframite deposit. Mineral Deposits 28(5), 611-620 (in Chinese with English abstract).

Jensen, M. (2009): Mineralogy of the Yaogangxian Mine, Hunan Province, China. Mineral News 25(4), 1-11 & 14.

Yueping Yan, Qianwei Dai, and Xianping Gan (2010): The effect of integrated geophysical exploration in the Yaogangxian wolframite ore deposit. Geophysical & Geochemical Exploration 34(1), 59-62 (in Chinese with English abstract).

Shunting Li, Jingbing Wang, Xinyou Zhu, Yanli Wang, Ying Han, and Ningning Guo (2011): Chronological characteristics of the Yaogangxian composite pluton in Hunan Province. Geology and Exploration 47(2), 143-150.

Ottens, B. (2011): Chinesisches Tagebuch (VII): Ilvait und andere Neufunde aus Nei Mongol. Lapis 36 (9), 27-33 (in German).

Ottens, B. (2011): The Yaogangxian mine, Hunan Province, China. Mineralogical Record 42, 557-603.

Xinyou Zhou, Jingbin Wang, Yanli Wang, Xiyin Cheng, Peng He, Qibin Fu, and Shunting Li (2013): Characteristics of greisen inclusions in alkali feldspar granite of Yaogangxian tungsten deposit. Mineral Deposits 32(3), 533-544 (in Chinese with English abstract).

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