The Discovery of the Cortdrum Deposit, Co. Tipperary, lreland

The discovery of low-grade copper-silver mineralization near the town of Tipperary, Ireland, by Gortdrum Mines Limited was the result of reconnaissance geological and geochemical exploration followed by target delineation from induced polarization surveys. Initially, orientation studies at the Tynagh lead-zinc orebody showed that such deposits could be readily detected in stream sediments and soils using cold extraction analysis for total heavy metals. Numerous areas showing stratigraphical and structural similarities to Tynagh were then selected for reconnaissance geochemical prospecting. The Gortdrum deposit was detectable through the presence of anomalous metal values in stream sediments 3,000 feet downstream; soil sampling indicated an area of 2,000 by 700 feet containing 2 Yz to 20 times background cold-extractable metal values. Induced polarization surveys defined the dimensions and attitude of mineralization. Drilling to date has outlined (under 10 to 20 feet of till) low-grade copper-silver mineralization within Lower Carboniferous limestones and shales which have been faulted against Devonian sandstone. Mineralization extends from surface to depths of 250 to 450 feet and consists of bornite-chalcocite-tetrahedrite and sorne chalcopyrite in altered limestones and intrusive dikes. The deposit is geologically analogons to the Tynagh and Silvermines orebodies, but in contrast exhibits a predominant structural control. Provisionally, it is postulated that mid-Carboniferous folding and faulting produced the pre-mineralization high porosity via recrystallization, shearing and brecciation. Subsequently, hydrothermal solutions from the west, with a probable eommon origin to the volcanic dikes, were introduced along the fault planes. Although syngenetic causes cannot be exempted, the field relationships favour an epigenetic origin
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