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Geoscientist Online

Current Perspectives on Zinc Deposits 2015

dgfulkThe Irish Association for Economic Geology is an active association in organizing conferences.  Each decade or so it also contributes publications focused on an issue of importance to the Irish or European mining sector.  This new publication is a departure from this in that there is much more of a global approach taken focused on a single commodity, in this case Zinc.

The papers in this volume arise out of a conference in 2010 (ZINC2010) held in Cork, Ireland, and is a compilation of papers presented there by selected authors.  Zinc is a pertinent commodity for Ireland that has a large number of world-class zinc deposits, some of which are covered by papers in this volume.   The volume contains papers by the keynote speakers as full papers (7) or extended abstracts (5) as well as 17 other extended abstracts by other authors. In addition a further previously published paper is included in the appendix.

An impressive array of topics is covered by the 29 articles, ranging from regional studies to detailed case studies with an excellent overview paper by Huston et al. on all zinc deposit types.  The papers contain both original research on the formation of zinc deposits, such as the paper by Piercey et al on VMS deposits discussing controls on the formation of zinc-rich deposits, to laboratory studies such as one by Boyce et al. on zinc geochemistry and the formation of sphalerite to excellent review papers such as the one by Wilkinson and Hitzman reviewing the key processes responsible for formation of the Irish orefields. 

Probably my favourite paper in the volume is an overview by Borg on non-sulfide zinc deposits focusing on the supergene geochemistry that can give rise to such potentially economic deposits. A nice feature of the article is the use of hand specimen photographs and photographs of ore exposure in open pits, particularly from Angouran in Iran and explanation of the exploration method of 'zinczap' solution, appropriately illustrated with suitable photographs.

Overall the volume adds significantly to this important but often overlooked commodity.  The volume seems relatively free of errors and the editors and authors have done an excellent job of completing the publication.  If there is one small criticism it is that for many of the articles, presumably submitted in 2010, the references are less than current and only a few of the keynote papers appear to have been revised to include relevant more recent papers post 2010.  But this is a small gripe and in no way diminishes the relevance of the volume not just to those working in the zinc industry but economic geology in general and particularly useful as a reference source for students and researchers.

Reviewed by Rob Bowell

CURRENT PERSPECTIVES ON ZINC DEPOSITS 2015 by S M Archibald and S J Piercey (Eds) Published by: Irish Association for Economic Geology 251pp, sbk. ISBN: 0950989452, 9780950989457.  List Price: €50.00 + p&p.