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Geological, geochemical and mineralogical characterization of non-metallic mineral deposits in the La Paz region, Bolivia
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Geologisk, geokemisk och mineralogisk karaktärisering av icke-metalliska fyndigheter i La Pazregionen, Bolivia (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Industrial mineral resources are a promising source of economic development in Bolivia where the mining industry’s main focus is on metalliferous deposits. The industrial mineral resources in Bolivia are of large quantity, even though they remain only locally known, as well as understudied to a large degree.

This thesis aims to show the industrial mineral mining potential of La Paz and Bolivia as a whole. Bolivia’s resources of industrial minerals can potentially be used for numerous industrial applications. Three deposits have been geologically and mineralogically characterized. In addition, the potential applications of the mined products are addressed.

Firstly, the Micaya deposit, located at the Micaya village south-west of La Paz city, comprising two whitish kaolinite-bearing occurrences, was investigated. The material is currently used in tableware production. The Micaya deposit is situated in a Palaeozoic sequence in the Altiplano basin. The general mineral composition of the occurrences is 56 vol.% quartz, 21 vol.% muscovite, 18 vol.% kaolinite and <5 vol.% feldspar. The kaolinite-bearing sediments were formed through enhanced weathering of the muscovite-rich siltstones aided by groundwater remobilization along permeable fault zones. Micaya kaolinite is suggested to be suitable for industrial applications.

Secondly, the Choquetanga deposit, located south-east of La Paz city and currently mined for Sn and W, is associated with a coarse-grained granitic batholith that was studied for its feldspar characteristics in this work. Geologically, the Choquetanga area is dominated by a Palaeozoic sedimentary sequence intruded by the porphyritic granite from the Quimsa Cruz batholith in the south-east of the Eastern Cordillera. The Quimsa Cruz batholith is composed of megacrystalline granite with 5–10 cm long orthoclase, albite and oligoclase crystals that contain a considerable alkali content of YK2O,Na2O=7.84–10.25 wt.%.

Thirdly, the La Fabulosa deposit, located north-west of the Eastern Cordillera, was studied for its feldspar occurrences hosted in granites and pegmatites. The deposit is composed of a metasedimentary sequence of Palaeozoic age intruded by the Sorata batholith, which comprises two-mica granites, granodiorites and pegmatites with an alkali content of YK2O,Na2O=7.41–14.25 wt.%, hosted in the minerals microcline, orthoclase and oligoclase.

The potential raw materials from the three studied industrial mineral deposits were evaluated for use in ceramic applications. In addition, nine non-metallic occurrences, most of them currently mined and located at Oruro (one zeolite occurrence), Potosí (one diatomite and one montmorillonite occurrence), La Paz (three clay deposits and one diatomite occurrence) and Santa Cruz (two kaolin deposits) have been sampled. Mineralogical and lithogeochemical characterization of the materials have been performed to address higher-value applications for the deposits.

X-ray diffraction (XRD) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were used to identify the mineralogical and lithogeochemical composition of the host rocks to the deposits. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were performed on the kaolinite-bearing materials to characterize the microstructure in the rocks. This indicates mineral paragenesis and has therefore implications for mineral deposit formation. Physical tests on the ceramic specimens, such as drying shrinkage (Choquetanga 0.20 vol.%, La Fabulosa 0.31 vol.%), firing shrinkage (Choquetanga 1.66 vol.%, La Fabulosa 1.59 vol.%), bending strength (Choquetanga 69.55 N/mm2, La Fabulosa 70.20 N/mm2), water absorption (Choquetanga 2.13 vol.%, La Fabulosa 0.58 vol.%) and Mohs hardness value of 7, demonstrate the potential application of the studied industrial minerals in the production of floor tile ceramics.

The results of this work show the geological potential for industrial mineral exploitation in Bolivia. It is expected that these investigations will serve as a starting point and encouragement for future geological research and mineral exploration with important implications for the supply of industrial minerals for the growing industrial sector of Bolivia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2018.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Geology
Research subject
Ore Geology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-68230ISBN: 978-91-7790-098-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7790-099-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-68230DiVA, id: diva2:1195837
Public defence
2018-06-01, C305, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation AgencyAvailable from: 2018-04-10 Created: 2018-04-06 Last updated: 2018-05-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Geological, mineralogical and chemical characterization of Devonian kaolinite-bearing sediments for further applications in the ceramic (tiles) industry in La Paz, Bolivia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Geological, mineralogical and chemical characterization of Devonian kaolinite-bearing sediments for further applications in the ceramic (tiles) industry in La Paz, Bolivia
2016 (English)In: Environmental Earth Sciences, ISSN 1866-6280, E-ISSN 1866-6299, Vol. 75, no 7, article id 546Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Clay minerals are widely distributed in Bolivia; among them, illitic clays are most common in the Altiplano where they are mined for use in the ceramic industry that has been growing in the last few years. In addition to illitic sediments, kaolinitic sediments have been recently discovered in sedimentary units in the Bolivian Altiplano. Residual ball clay occurrences in Devonian sedimentary units were studied as part of this work. Geological mapping and geophysical studies (ERT and GPR) were done for better understanding the origin of the deposits and were part of a preliminary study of the mineral potential to define the relationship with the host rock. Chemical and mineralogical techniques such as X-Ray Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Inductively Coupled Plasma analyses were performed in samples from the studied area to verify the presence of kaolinite. Atterberg limits and behaviour of the raw material in ceramic specimens supported by chemical analyses show that this material is suitable for manufacturing tile ceramics. This study provides fundamental knowledge for deposit exploitation and future generation of an alternative source of employment for the inhabitants of Micaya

National Category
Geology
Research subject
Ore Geology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-11311 (URN)10.1007/s12665-015-5212-y (DOI)a40d5b37-9ee7-4bfb-9efb-4907e6261f2f (Local ID)a40d5b37-9ee7-4bfb-9efb-4907e6261f2f (Archive number)a40d5b37-9ee7-4bfb-9efb-4907e6261f2f (OAI)
Note

Validerad; 2016; Nivå 2; 20160411 (andbra)

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2018-04-10Bibliographically approved
2. Characterization of some nonmetallic resources in Bolivia: an overview of their potentiality and their application in specialized formulations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Characterization of some nonmetallic resources in Bolivia: an overview of their potentiality and their application in specialized formulations
2017 (English)In: Environmental Earth Sciences, ISSN 1866-6280, E-ISSN 1866-6299, Vol. 76, no 22, article id 754Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Bolivia has several nonmetallic occurrences widespread in the country. Unfortunately, they are poorly studied and slightly characterized. In the present work, several nonmetallic occurrences located in La Paz, Oruro, Potosí and Santa Cruz were studied. The results of the chemical and mineralogical characterization of the materials will be presented, in order to approach their applicability in specialized industrial formulations. A preliminary test of the final products besides an overview of their potentiality will be exposed and a current view of the commercialization as well.

National Category
Geology
Research subject
Ore Geology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66733 (URN)10.1007/s12665-017-7094-7 (DOI)000416820300022 ()2-s2.0-85034744509 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2017;Nivå 2;2017-11-23 (andbra)

Available from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-23 Last updated: 2018-04-12Bibliographically approved

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