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World Skarn Deposits: Skarns of Italy

Dipartimento Geofisica and Vulcanologia Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Via Mezzocannone, 8 80134-Napoli Italy

Introduction Green porphyries). The skarn-sulfide deposits of this district

THERE ARE NUMEROUS skarn deposits in Italy containing can be subdivided between those of the Valle dei Lanzi area
both metallic and industrial minerals that have been mined (predominant Pb-Zn, mostly with galena > sphalerite) and the
since early historic times, but only the latter are still mined Cu (Pb-Zn) orebodies from Valle del Temperino. Both skarn
today (Maineri et al., 2003). The skarn deposits are related to complexes are completely enclosed in white marbles, derived
intrusions of both the Variscan (Sardinia) and Alpine from contact metamorphism of the Liassic “Calcare Massic-
(Piedmont and Tuscany) orogenies. Skarn deposits occur in cio.” Portions of the deposits of Niccioleta, Serrabottini, and
four main areas (Fig. 9.1): (1) Sardinia, (2) Piedmont, (3) Fenice Capanne, located between the Grosseto and Massa
Tuscany, and (4) Elba. Marittima provinces, are related to skarn processes, even
though not clearly connected to an intrusive body. At Niccio-
Skarn Deposits in Sardinia leta (Tanelli, 1977; Déchomets et al., 1986), the main ex-
Most of the skarn- and high-temperature vein ores in ploited ore consisted of pyrite, with only minor sulfides in
southwest Sardinia are associated with shallow-level Mesozoic carbonates and evaporites; among the skarn sili-
leucogranites (Boni et al., 1992). The mineralized skarns are cates are abundant diopside-hedenbergite and andradite-gar-
generally calcic exoskarns of the Zn-Pb-(Cu) type. The only net, with minor ilvaite. The polymetallic skarn deposit of
exceptions are the Fe skarns of San Leone (Sulcis: Verkaeren Fenice Capanne (Burtet-Fabris and Omenetto, 1971;
and Bartholomé, 1979) and Perda Niedda (Oridda: Aponte et Martarelli et al., 1997) is mainly hosted in the Ligurian units,
al., 1988). In central Sardinia, the skarn deposits of Correboi with only a smaller part of the deposit in the lithotypes of the
(Ogniben, 1958; Dessau et al., 1992) and the Funtana Tuscan Nappe, and controlled by an alpine fault.
Raminosa district, near the Gadoni village (Protano et al., Skarn Deposits of Elba Island
1996a, b), are possibly related to a postorogenic, younger
magmatism. Iron ores from Elba Island have been mined for almost
3,000 years, starting with the early Etruscan mine workings
Skarn Deposits in Piedmont up to 1981, when the last mine was closed, with a production
In the northeastern Alps district (Piedmont), some minor
skarn deposits (magnesian Fe skarn) occur in metamorphic
rocks at the contact with Tertiary, low-silica intrusions of calc-
alkaline affinity. The most important mines were Brosso and
Traversella, in the Ivrea province (Zucchetti, 1966; Castaldo
and Stampanoni, 1975). At Brosso, the main ore consisted of
pyrite >> chalcopyrite and magnetite-hematite, with produc-
tion ranging in the last years of the mine around 30,000 t/yr
of iron ore. At Traversella, the bigger deposit, the grade of the
bulk ore consisted of 30 wt percent Fe, with about 50 g/t of
WO3 and 3 g/t U3O8. The Traversella deposit was mined for
its copper and iron mineralization from the Roman period up
to 1969, and was later explored also for scheelite (Vander
Auwera and André, 1991).
Skarn Deposits in Tuscany
For almost 30 centuries, Tuscany has been the most impor-
tant mining region of Italy, producing a large variety of re-
sources including pyrite, iron, base metals, geothermal steam,
and several industrial minerals and rocks (Lattanzi et al.,
1994, and references therein). The Campiglia Marittima area
has long been known for Cu-Pb-Zn (± Fe,Ag,Sn) skarn de-
posits (Corsini et al., 1980). In 1975, the reserves in the dis-
trict were estimated to be in the order of 250,000 t at 4 wt
percent Zn, 2 wt percent Pb, 0.8 to 1 wt percent Cu, and 20
to 70 g/t Ag. A number of industrial minerals and rocks are
also mined in the district. These deposits are located in spa-
tial association with (4–5 Ma?) porphyry dikes (Yellow and
† FIG. 9.1. Location of the main skarn deposits in Italy.


of at least 60 Mt of Fe. The Fe deposits are restricted to a nar- Dimanche, F., 1971, Les minérais de magnetite et les skarns du Ginevro (Île
row belt extending north-south along the eastern coast of d’Elbe––Italie): Mineralium Deposita, v. 6, p. 356–379.
Dubru, M., Vander Auwera, J., Van Marcke de Lumen, G., and Verkaeren,
Elba Island, from Monte Calendozio to the Calamita J., 1988, Distribution of scheelite in magnesian skarns at Traversella
promontory. The ore bodies range from stratiform (predomi- (Piemontese Alps, Italy) and Costabonne (Eastern Pyrenees, France):
nantly hosted by Paleozoic-Triassic formations of the Tuscan Nature of the associated magmatism and influence of fluid composition, in
domain) to podlike or vein type, although the first appears to Boissonnas, J., and Omenetto, P., eds., Mineral feposits within the
European community: Berlin, Springer, p. 117–134.
be dominant. Many orebodies were associated with faults Dünkel, I., 2002, The genesis of East Elba iron ore deposits and their
(Gillieron, 1959), a first set of thrust faults, and two sets of interrelation with Messinian tectonics: Tübinger Geowissenschaftliche
normal, high-angle faults. Fe ores and skarns of southeastern Arbeiten (TGA), A, v. 65, 276 p.
Elba Island are associated with aplitic dikes linked to the Gillieron, F., 1959, Osservazioni sulla geologia dei giacimenti di ferro
Porto Azzurro pluton, as can be seen in the Calamita Penin- dell’Elba orientale: L’Industria Mineraria, v. X(1), p. 1–10.
Lattanzi, P., and Tanelli, G., 1985, Le mineralizzazioni a pirite, ossidi di Fe e
sula, where stratiform garnet (andradite)-rich skarn and lesser Pb-Zn(Ag) della zona di Niccioleta (Grosseto): Rendiconti della Società
ilvaite-hedenbergite skarn developed mostly at the contact Italiana di Mineralogia e Petrologia, v. 40, p. 385–408.
between the Mount Calamita Formation and the overlying Lattanzi, P., Benvenuti, M., Costagliola, P., and Tanelli, G., 1994, An
crystalline dolostones and limestones. overview on recent research on the metallogeny of Tuscany, with special
reference to the Apuane Alps: Memorie della Società Geologica Italiana, v.
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