The evolution of REE mineralisation within the Ditrău Alkaline Complex, Romania: interplay of magmatic and hydrothermal processes
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Description: The Ditrău Igneous Complex (NE Romania) is a tilted Mesozoic layered alkaline intrusion (~19 km diameter), with enrichments in rare earth elements (REE), niobium, tantalum and molybdenum. It has the potential to contribute to a secure and sustainable European REE mining industry, ensuring supply security for these critical metals. The complex comprises layered ultramafic rocks, alkali gabbros, diorites, syenites, nepheline syenites and alkali granites. These units have been significantly modified by sub-solidus interaction with late-stage magmatic fluids and are cut by secondary mafic dykes, which formed after the intrusion solidified. The complex was subsequently cut by REE-mineralised carbonate-rich veins. Geochemical and petrological data, including apatite mineral chemistry, from the alkaline igneous rocks, dykes and veins within the Ditrău Complex, have been used to assess the interplay of magmatic processes with late-stage magmatic and hydrothermal fluids, and the effects of these processes on element remobilisation and concentration of critical metals. Only limited critical metal enrichment was achieved by magmatic processes; the REE were preferentially incorporated into titanite and apatite in ultramafic cumulates during primary crystallisation, and were not enriched in evolved magmas. A hydrothermal system developed within the Ditrău Complex magma chamber at the later stages of magmatic crystallisation, causing localised alteration of nepheline syenites by a sodium-rich fluid. Later mafic dykes subsequently acted as conduits for late stage, buoyant potassic fluids, which leached REE and HFSE from the surrounding syenitic rocks. These fluids percolated up and accumulated in the roof zone, causing the breakdown of nepheline to K-rich pseudomorphs and the precipitation of hydrothermal minerals such as zircon and pyrochlore within veins. REE mineralisation within the Ditrău Complex is hosted in the latest hydrothermal phase, mineralised carbonate-rich veins which cross-cut the complex. Monazite is the main REE-bearing phase which crystallised from a late REE- and carbonate-rich fluid with pH controlled REE deposition.