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

Type Article
Date 2022-02
Language English
Author(s) Staszak PaulORCID1, 2, Collot Julien1, Josso Pierre3, Pelleter EwanORCID2, Etienne Samuel1, Patriat MartinORCID2, Cheron Sandrine2, Boissier AudreyORCID2, Guyomard Yaël1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Geological Survey of New Caledonia, Direction de l’Industrie, des Mines et de l’Énergie de Nouvelle-Calédonie, BP M2, Nouméa 98845, New Caledonia
2 : Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Unité Géosciences Marines, 29280 Plouzané, France
3 : British Geological Survey, Environmental Science Centre, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
Source Minerals (2075-163X) (MDPI AG), 2022-02 , Vol. 12 , N. 2 , P. 255 (28p.)
DOI 10.3390/min12020255
WOS© Times Cited 1
Note This article belongs to the Special Issue Oceanic Ferromanganese Deposits
Keyword(s) ferromanganese crusts, New Caledonia, hydrogenetic, hydrothermal and diagenetic deposits

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.

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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 (28p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.3390/min12020255 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00751/86344/