Heavy Minerals and the Characters of Ilmenite in the Beach Placer Sands of Chavakkad-Ponnani, Kerala Coast, India

Nayak, B and Mohanty, Sunati and Bhattacharyya, P (2012) Heavy Minerals and the Characters of Ilmenite in the Beach Placer Sands of Chavakkad-Ponnani, Kerala Coast, India. Journal of the Geological Society of India, 79 . pp. 259-266.

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Indian beach placer sand deposits are, in general, ilmenite-rich. However, some concentrations are dominated by pyriboles. The Chavakkad-Ponnani (CP) area along the northern Kerala coast is one such deposit. This paper deals with the general character of the heavy minerals of CP with special emphasis on the characters of ilmenite. Most Indian beach sand ilmenites are of good quality. However, our observations on the ilmenites of CP using Optical Microscope, SEM and EPMA reveals that these are mineralogically very complex. The CP ilmenite varies from pure ilmenite to highly impure variety having intergrowths and inclusions of other oxide and silicate minerals. Ilmenite occurs as mix-crystals and forms intergrowth structure with hematite and Ti-hematite/ulvöspinel; contains inclusions of hematite, quartz, and monazite. On the other hand ilmenite also occurs as inclusions within hematite and garnet. The pyriboles are dominantly amphiboles with hornblende-composition. Interestingly an inclusion of gold has been recorded within amphibole of hornblende composition. Garnets are mostly of almandine and pyrope type. Subordinate heavy minerals sillimanite, zircon and rutile. Characteristic morphology, mineralogy and chemistry of amphibole, garnet and ilmenite together indicate that the placer sands of CP area are derived from the amphibolites, granite gneisses and basic igneous rocks lying in the hinterland towards the eastern border of Kerala. Though the overall quality of ilmenite is poor, high-grade ilmenite concentrate can be generated (of course with lower yield), by adopting precise mineral processing techniques. The CP deposit can be considered as a second-grade deposit but it has potential for future exploitation.

Item Type:Article
Official URL/DOI:http://www.nmlindia.org
Uncontrolled Keywords:Heavy Minerals, Beach Placers, Chavakkad-Ponnani, Kerala
Divisions:Mineral Processing
ID Code:4916
Deposited On:06 Mar 2012 10:14
Last Modified:06 Mar 2012 10:14
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