Palabora mine (Foscor open pit; PMC mine), Loolekop, Phalaborwa, Limpopo Province, South Africa
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||23° 58' 59'' South , 31° 4' 0'' East|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-23.98333,31.06667|
|Other regions containing this locality:||Transvaal, South Africa|
|Köppen climate type:||BSh : Hot semi-arid (steppe) climate|
A copper-(U-)(Zr-)apatite-vermiculite mine located near Phalaborwa in Limpopo Province (previously NE Transvaal). Apatite production occurred 1932-1934. Vermiculite production began 1946. Copper mining commenced 1965 and was fully operational by 1967.
The town name is Phalaborwa, the geological formation is the Phalaborwa Complex and the mine Palabora mine.
Ore is in the Phalaborwa carbonatite complex. The largest open-pit mine in South Africa. Owned by Palabora Mining Company, Ltd.; RTZ (Manager).
The Phalaborwa Complex covers an area of 1950 hectares and it consists mainly of a phlogopite- and apatite rich pyroxenite. This pyroxenite is intruded successively by a series of more differentiated rocks - foskorite (phoscorite), and olivine- magnetite- apatite- phlogopite rock and finally a central intrusion of sövite (transgressive carbonatite). The sövite intrusion shows an intimate relationship with foskorite. The sövite (50 hectares at the surface) is composed of calcite and magnetite with minor amounts of dolomite, apatite, chalcopyrite, bornite and various silicates. Furthermore, uraninite-thorianite and baddeleyite are important accessory minerals. The sövite is being mined by large-scale opencast methods mainly for copper with uranium, zirconium and minute amounts of platinum as by-products. The foskorite is mined for the extraction of phosphate. The resources of apatite from the foskorite and the pyroxenite are enormous.
86 valid minerals.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
2500 - 4000 Ma
Hanekom, H.J., Van Staden, C.M., Smit, P.J., and Pike, D.R. (1965) The geology of the Phalaborwa igneous complex. Memoir of the Geological Society of South Africa 54, 185pp.
Herbert, I.C. (1967) Palabora. Mining Magazine 116, 4-5, 7, 9-11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25.
Frick, C. (1975) The Phalaborwa syenite intrusion. Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa 78, 201-213.
Mining Annual Review (1985) 411.
Verwoerd, W.J. (1986) Mineral deposits associated with carbonatites and alkaline rocks. In: Mineral deposits of Southern Africa. Vol. II. 2173-2191. Edited by: Annhaeusser and Maske. Geological Society of South Africa.
Gliddon, J.P and Braithwaite, R.S.W. (1991) Zeolites and Associated Minerals from the Palabora Mine, Transvaal. Mineralogical Record 22(4) 255-262.
Cairncross, B. and Dixon, R. (1995) Minerals of South Africa. The Geological Society of South Africa.
Karchevskii, P.I. (2000) Minerals of Sr and REE in carbonatites from Loolekop deposit (Palabora, RSA). Zapiski Vserossiiskogo Mineralogicheskogo Obshchestva 129, 99-109.
Groves, D.I. and Vielreicher, N.M. (2001) The Phalaborwa (Palabora) carbonatite-hosted magnetite-copper sulfide deposit, South Africa: an end-member of the iron-oxide copper-gold-rare earth element deposit group? Mineralium Deposita 36, 189-194.
Gliddon, J. (1996) Minerals of the Palabora open pit. British Micromount Society 43, 2-7.
Southwood, M. and Cairncross, B. (2017) The minerals of Palabora mine. Rocks & Minerals, 92, 426-452.