Paper No. 275-9
Presentation Time: 10:05 AM
CASE STUDIES OF CHROMITE ORE PROSPECTING IN CAMAGÜEY, CUBA
There are abundant ophiolites in Cuba and many of the ultramafic sections host important chromite bodies. The abundance of chromite ore deposits in Camagüey province of Cuba has attracted the attention of prospectors since the early 20th century and helped Cuba reach prominence in the export of chromite during the Second World War. Medium to large deposits of refractory chromite were discovered during that epoch. Prospecting for chromite in ophiolitic bodies renewed after 1962 in collaboration with researchers from Eastern Europe. The methodology comprised a set of geological-geophysical techniques. Based on the density contrast between chromitites and host serpentinized peridotites, gravity surveys were the primary exploration method. Values of density for enclosing rocks vary from 2.4 to 2.5 g/cm3 while the estimated densities for the chromite ore average 3.7 g/cm3. Gravity survey over a 50 x 25 m grid was used for general search and a 25 x 12.5 m grid for smaller areas of high potential. Magnetic survey and electrical methods were also applied. Gravity surveys revealed new reserves in the Victoria I deposit, and drilling uncovered several shallow chromite ore bodies in other areas. However, most of the selected sites to be tested resulted in anomalies produced by gabbroic intrusions and serpentinized peridotites within less dense serpentinites. In this presentation I will discuss why the prospecting methods yielded both positive and negative results. We expect to find new chromite deposits in Camagüey and in eastern Cuba. New possibilities exist for business and investment for prospecting and mining of refractory chromite in Cuba.