Origin and Composition of Ferromanganese Deposits of New Caledonia Exclusive Economic Zone

Staszak, Paul; Collot, Julien; Josso, Pierre; Pelleter, Ewan; Etienne, Samuel; Patriat, Martin; Cheron, Sandrine; Boissier, Audrey; Guyomard, Yaël. 2022 Origin and Composition of Ferromanganese Deposits of New Caledonia Exclusive Economic Zone. Minerals, 12 (2), 255.

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Located in the South-West Pacific, at the northern extremity of the mostly submerged Zealandia continent, the New Caledonian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers 1,470,000 km² and includes basins, ridges and seamounts where abundant ferromanganese crusts have been observed. Several investigations have been conducted since the 1970s on the nature and composition of ferromanganese crusts from New Caledonia’s seamounts and ridges, but none have covered the entire EEZ. We present data from 104 ferromanganese crusts collected in New Caledonia’s EEZ during twelve oceanographic cruises between 1974 and 2019. Samples were analysed for mineralogy, geochemical compositions, growth rates, and through a statistical approach using correlation coefficients and factor analysis. Crust thicknesses range from 1 mm to 115 mm, with growth rates between 0.45 mm/Ma and 102 mm/Ma. Based on textures, structures, discrimination plots, and growth rates, we distinguish a group of hydrogenetic crusts containing the highest mean contents of Co (0.42 wt%), Ni (0.31 wt%), and high contents of Mo, V, W, Pb, Zn, Nb, from a group of hydrothermal and/or diagenetic deposits showing high mean contents of Mn (38.17 wt%), Ba (0.56 wt%) and low contents of other trace metals. Several samples from this later group have exceptionally high content of Ni (0.7 wt%). The data shows that crusts from the southern part of the EEZ, notably seamounts of the Loyalty Ridge and the Lord Howe Rise, present high mineral potential for prospectivity owing to high contents of valuable metals, and constitute a great target for further investigation

Item Type: Publication - Article
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ISSN: 2075-163X
Date made live: 15 Mar 2022 13:59 +0 (UTC)

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