Platinum Group Element (PGE) Exploration Studies in India

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					   Platinum Group Element (PGEs) Occurrences and Exploration Studies in India – Current Status

                                              V.Balaram
                                National Geophysical Research Institute
                             (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research)
                                         Hyderabad – 500 606
                                  Email : balaram1951@yahoo.com

  The platinum group elements (PGEs: Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir, Pt) abundances in crustal rocks formed
from silicate melts and magmatic volatile phases, are widely studied to identify the fundamental
geochemical controls of their distribution in Earth’s crust and to understand the primary mantle
derived magmatic processes as well as the secondary enrichment processes responsible for the
formation of PGE mineralized zones in different geological and tectonic settings all over the world.
PGE and Au generally occur at exceedingly low concentration levels (ng/g) in crustal rocks. PGEs
are currently receiving world-wide attention as attractive exploration-targets because of their
extensive utility in high technology applications and commercial value. Hence, the discovery of new
PGE deposits/mineralized zones is of great economic importance for any country.


   PGE mineralization occurs in layered igneous complexes , komatities in greenstones and
ophiolite belts. In India their occurrences have been reported in the last three decades mostly from
the plutonic to hypabyssal magmatic intrusions of Archaean - Early Proterozoic age , mostly
emplaced into the cratonic areas to the south of the ENE-WSW trending Son-Narmada
Lineament[1] Some of the layered ultramafic complexes + chromite have indicated moderate to high
anomalous PGE values. Such prominent occurrences are reported from Sukinda and Baula – Nausahi
areas of Orissa in Singhbhum Craton [2,3], Sittampundi area of Tamil Nadu in Southern Granulite
Belt, Madawara igneous complex, Bundelkhand massif, Central India and Hanumalapura area of
Karnataka in Dharwar Craton [4]. Naldrett [5] is of the opinion that intrusions of the Khetri
lineaments, Sittampundi anorthosite complex komatiites of Dharwar Craton and the Nuasahi-
Sukinda igneous complex of Singhbhum Craton would offer scope for continuing research on
magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE deposits in India .

  For identifying economically viable deposits and their mining, detailed geophysical, geological,
petrological and geochemical studies are essential on massive scale in potential areas. Recent studies
show that there is a tremendous potential for PGE-mineralisation in mafic-ultramafic and ophiolite
complexes, and the fine grained sediments such as sulfide bearing black shales, occurring in different
parts of India. Recent studies have also confirmed the presence of PGE (especially Pt upto 1µg/g) in
ferromanganese crusts from Afanasy-Nikitin Seamount (ANS) in the equatorial Indian Ocean [6]. It
is essential to intensify our research efforts in this direction by establishing analytical centers with
capabilities for the precise estimation of PGE and for the required mineralogical studies in different
parts of the country. Only a consorted and integrated efforts towards a conceptual understanding of
the nature of the inter-relationship between the magmatic sulfides and their host rocks will facilitate
the discovery of hidden Ni and PGE resources that surely occur within India

  [1] V.Balaram (2006) J. Appl. Geochem. 8(2A) 441- 457, [2] Mondal SK and Baidya T.K (1997)
Min. Mag.,61: 902-906, [3] Mukherjee and Patra (2001) GSI Special Publication No. 58: 439-443,
[4] Devaraju T.C, Alapieti T.T, Kaukonen RJ and Sudhakara T.L (2007) J.Geol. Soc. India, 70:535-
556 , [5] Naldrett T (2008) J. Geol. Soc. India, 72: 587-588., [6] V K Banakar, J R Hein, R P Rajani
and A R Chodankar (2007) J. Earth Syst. Sci. 116 (1) 3–13

				
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