Sediment-Hosted Copper Deposits of the World: Deposit Models and Database

By Dennis P. Cox1, David A. Lindsey2, Donald A. Singer1, Barry C. Moring1, and Michael F. Diggles1


Descriptive Model of Sediment-Hosted Cu 30b.1 by Dennis P. Cox1
Grade and Tonnage Model of Sediment-Hosted Cu by Dennis P. Cox1 and Donald A. Singer1
Descriptive Model of Reduced-Facies Cu 30b.2 By Dennis P. Cox1
Grade and Tonnage Model of Reduced Facies Cu by Dennis P. Cox1 and Donald A. Singer1
Descriptive Model of Redbed Cu 30b.3, by David A. Lindsey2 and Dennis P. Cox1
Grade and Tonnage Model of Redbed Cu by Dennis P. Cox1 and Donald A. Singer1
Descriptive Model of Revett Cu 30b.4, by Dennis P. Cox1
Grade and Tonnage Model of Revett Cu by Dennis P. Cox1 and Donald A. Singer1

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-107
Version 1.3

2003, revised 2007

1 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
2 Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225


This publication contains four descriptive models and four grade-tonnage models for sediment hosted copper deposits. Descriptive models are useful in exploration planning and resource assessment because they enable the user to identify deposits in the field and to identify areas on geologic and geophysical maps where deposits could occur. Grade and tonnage models are used in resource assessment to predict the likelihood of different combinations of grades and tonnages that could occur in undiscovered deposits in a specific area. They are also useful in exploration in deciding what deposit types meet the economic objectives of the exploration company. The models in this report supersede the sediment-hosted copper models in USGS Bulletin 1693 (Cox, 1986, and Mosier and others, 1986) and are subdivided into a general type and three subtypes. The general model is useful in classifying deposits whose features are obscured by metamorphism or are otherwise poorly described, and for assessing regions in which the geologic environments are poorly understood. The three subtypes are based on differences in deposit form and environments of deposition. These differences are described under subtypes in the general model.

Deposit models are based on the descriptions of geologic environments and physical characteristics, and on metal grades and tonnages of many individual deposits. Data used in this study are presented in a database representing 785 deposits in nine continents. This database was derived partly from data published by Kirkham and others (1994) and from new information in recent publications. To facilitate the construction of grade and tonnage models, the information, presented by Kirkham in disaggregated form, was brought together to provide a single grade and a single tonnage for each deposit. Throughout the report individual deposits are defined as being more than 2,000 meters from the nearest adjacent deposit.

The deposit models are presented here as a PDF file. The database can be most conveniently read in FileMaker Pro. For those who do not have the FileMaker application, Microsoft-Excel, tab-delimited-ASCII and comma-separated-value files are included. The reader may be interested in a similar publication on porphyry copper deposits (Singer and others, 2005) also available online.

The Google™ Earth image is not intended to be viewed at the highest possible magnification because the resolution of the database is plus or minus two kilometers. At extreme zoom settings, the deposit locations may not coincide with the Google-Earth images of the mine workings.

Photo, Cox, Andre, and Carrasco.  Outcrop is deep red; dry wash in background

Dennis Cox (right) examining a sedimentary copper outcrop near Corocoro, Bolivia with Orlando André and Raul Carrasco. Photograph by June Cox, 1992.

Get Acrobat button

View the report as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file

The report is provided as a PDF file for which you will need Adobe Reader to view. You can download a copy of the latest version by clicking the button above.

View text for Global Database for Sediment-Hosted Copper Deposits (of03-107.pdf; 2.5 MB).


The data that went into building this deposit model were compiled in a FileMaker-Pro database that contains 785 records. That file is provided here as well as raw ASCII files you can put in your own database application, an Excel spreadsheet, and a PDF file. The files are as follows:

sed_cu_v1.3.fp5 -- FileMaker-Pro 5 file
sed_cu_v1.3.fp7 -- FileMaker-Pro 7 file
sed_cu_v1.3.txt -- Tab-delimited-ASCII file
sed_cu_v1.3.csv -- Comma-separated-value file
sed_cu_v1.3.xls -- Excel file
sed_cu_v1.3.pdf -- PFD file

View the contents of the data directory (18 MB) and download the files of your choice.


A 38-inch-wide plot (sed_cu_v1.3_plot.pdf) was made to provide an overview of the distribution of the deposits. Using Acrobat, you can pan and zoom across the plot. The numbers refer to the record numbers in the database but were omitted where they overlap. The deposit types are color coded: Redbed, red dots; Reduced-facies, blue dots; Revett, white dots; Unclassified, black dots.

Map of the world with dots showing deposits

View the plot of the deposit locations. (sed_cu_plot_v1.3.pdf; 4.9 MB).

Google Earth

Download a plot of the data for use in Google Earth. If you need Google Earth, you can get a free copy for Mac, Linux, or PC from http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html

Version history

Suggested citation and version-history

For questions about the content of this report, contact Dennis Cox

Download a current version of Adobe Reader for free

| Help | PDF help | Geopubs main page | Open-File Reports for 2007 |
| Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Accessibility |
| Geologic Division | Western Mineral Resources |

A CD-ROM version of the old v. 1.0 of this publication is also available from:

U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services
Box 25286, Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
Telephone: 1–888–ASK–USGS (1–888–275–8747)
E-mail: infoservices@usgs.gov

| Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey |
URL of this page: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2003/of03-107/
Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: December 2, 2002
Last modified: July 2, 2007 (mfd)