Selenium and tellurium resources in Kisgruva Proterozoic volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit (Norway)

Liam A. Bullock, Magali Perez, Joseph Armstrong, John Parnell, John Still, Joerg Feldmann

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The former mining site at Kisgruva near Kongsberg, Norway, is primarily composed of worked sulphide ore deposits, of hydrothermal origin, which occur within Precambrian metamorphic basement. Though the original targets at the Kisgruva mine site were extraction of copper (Cu), sulphur (S) and iron (Fe), the sulphide ore also contains exceptionally high concentrations of selenium (Se) and tellurium (Te), hosted within selenides (clausthalite and minor naumannite) and tellurides (hessite and minor altaite and tellurobismuthite). Both Se and Te are also present within the sulphide ore in pyrite and chalcopyrite, which contain exceptionally high concentrations of up to 688 ppm Se and 81 ppm Te. Additionally, oxidative weathering of the exposed bedrock has resulted in the accumulation of hyper-enriched, unconsolidated weathered crust deposits at surface (Se up to 1590 ppm; Te up to 63 ppm), containing selenite (SeO32-) and tellurite (TeO32-) ions. Concentrations of Se and Te are subsequently higher in the weathering products than in the sulphide ore, due to fixation on to organic matter (~0.4% in weathered ore crusts), jarosite (formed from oxidation of sulphides from the primary ore), ferric oxide and hydroxide phases (goethite and haematite). Increasing demand for Se and Te to use in green technologies has led to the reassessment of these orebodies and their associated weathered ore crust deposits. Though these elements are currently considered mining contaminants, this and similar sites may be of future economic importance, particularly as demand for Se and Te continues to rise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-424
Number of pages15
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Early online date7 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

The authors are extremely grateful to Kåre Kullerud of the Norsk Bergverksmuseum (Kongsberg) for sharing his wealth of knowledge of the Kisgruva site and assisting in accessibility. The authors also wish to thank Abbie Mclaughlin (University of Aberdeen) for her assistance with XRD analysis. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their careful reading and corrections of the manuscript.

This work was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); Minerals Security of Supply (SoS) Grant NE/M010953/1, Tellurium and Selenium Cycling and Supply (TeaSe).


  • Selenium
  • Tellurium
  • sulphide ore
  • pyrite
  • VMS
  • Norway


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