Most known porphyry Cu deposits formed in the Phanerozoic and are exclusively associated with moderately oxidized, sulfur-rich, hydrous arc-related magmas derived from partial melting of the asthenospheric mantle metasomatized by slab-derived fluids. Yet, whether similar metallogenic processes also operated in the Precambrian remains obscure. Here we address the issue by investigating the origin, fO2, and S contents of calc-alkaline plutonic rocks associated with the Haib porphyry Cu deposit in the Paleoproterozoic Richtersveld Magmatic Arc (southern Namibia), an interpreted mature island-arc setting. We show that the ca. 1886–1881 Ma ore-forming magmas, originated from a mantle-dominated source with minor crustal contributions, were relatively oxidized (1‒2 log units above the fayalite-magnetite-quartz redox buffer) and sulfur-rich. These results indicate that moderately oxidized, sulfur-rich arc magma associated with porphyry Cu mineralization already existed in the late Paleoproterozoic, probably as a result of recycling of sulfate-rich seawater or sediments from the subducted oceanic lithosphere at that time.

Meng, X., Kleinsasser, J.M., Richards, J.P. et al. Oxidized sulfur-rich arc magmas formed porphyry Cu deposits by 1.88 Ga. Nat Commun 12, 2189 (2021). abstract