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A Columbium-Bearing Regolith on Upper Idaho Gulch, Near Tofty, Alaska.
Warner-JD; Mardock-CL; Dahlin-DC
MISSING :29 pages
In 1984, as part of a project to evaluate Alaskan occurrences of certain critical and strategic minerals, the Bureau of Mines investigated a columbium-bearing regolith on Upper Idaho Gulch, near Tofty, Alaska. The regolith is derived from weathering of a dolomitic marble and consists mostly of iron oxide minerals with accessory apatite, zircon, xenotime, rutile, monazite, and the columbium minerals aeschynite, columbite, and ilmenorutile. Two regolith lenses contain 340,000 lb of columbium resources at an average grade of 0.07 pct. Calculated composite concentrates from two regolith samples (approximately 200 lb each) contained 53 and 57 pct of the columbium at grades of 0.97 and 0.86 pct, respectively. In each case the grade could be improved to 1.1 pct cb with a sacrifice of 9- pct recovery. The regolith's mineralogy, trace-element geochemistry, and similarity to descriptions of other columbium- enriched regoliths suggest that the underlying marble may be a carbonatite. The lack of associated alkalic igneous rocks and the stratiform nature of the regolith, however, may be interpreted as evidence for sedimentary origin of the marble. The marble and regolith are a lode source for some of the minerals in the Idaho gulch placer deposit.
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Page last reviewed: March 11, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division