Mining of Mineral Deposits

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Geochemical characterization of the Sutlegen bauxite deposit, SW Antalya

Ozge Ozer Atakoglu1, Mustafa Gurhan Yalcin1

1Akdeniz University, Antalya, 07058, Turkey

Min. miner. depos. 2021, 15(3):108-121

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      Purpose.The purpose is to determine geological and geochemical characteristics of the Sutlegen (Antalya, Turkey) bauxites, to identify the elements that played a major role in their formation.

      Methods. X-ray diffraction (XRD) mineral phase analysis, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) elemental analysis, plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), the petrographic and mineralogical analyses, and multivariate statistical methods were used.

      Findings. The major element content of the ore was determined as Al2O3 (60-35.2 wt%), SiO2 (39.5-0.2 wt%), Fe2O3 (48.4-19.5 wt%), TiO2 (36.9-16 wt%), and P2O5 (0.5-0.1 wt%). The Sutlegen region, which shows epirogenetic action with the uplift of the earth's crust, is generally rich in neritic carbonates. It was revealed that the bauxite ores have undergone moderate and strong laterization as a result of the deferruginization in the environment, and they were classified into four groups as lateritic, ferritic, kaolinitic, and bauxite. The increase in the aluminosilicate minerals, which were formed during the formation of bauxite in the environment was found to be directly proportional to the laterization processes. In this context, it was considered that the lateritic material that was firstly formed in the environment filled the cavities and pores of the karst-type limestones and sedimentary units in the region by superficial transfer phenomena. The bivariate diagrams of Log Cr vs. Log Ni revealed that the bauxite that formed in the region had an ultrabasic source.

      Originality. In literature, no scientific studies have been found on bauxite mineralization in the Sutlegen deposits that have been operated for a long period.

      Practical implications. In this context, the geochemical characteristics of bauxites revealed that the source of the laterization process in the region was the ultrabasic igneous rocks. The lateritic material moved by superficial transfer was accumulated on sandstone, claystone, siltstone, and limestone and in karstic cavities; then, it formed karstic bauxite (kaolinitic and bauxite) of different classifications due to the effect of metamorphism.

      Keywords:karstic bauxite, lateritic bauxite, geochemistry, mineralogy, petrography, multivariate statistics


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