First report of platinum-group minerals from a hornblende gabbro dyke in the vicinity of the Southeast Extension Zone of the Voisey's Bay Ni-Cu-Co deposit, Labrador

M. A.E. Huminicki, P. J. Sylvester, R. Lastra, L. J. Cabri, D. Evans-Lamswood, D. H.C. Wilton

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This study reports the first documented occurrence of platinum group-minerals (PGM) in the vicinity of the Voisey's Bay magmatic sulfide ore deposit. The PGM are present in a sulfide poor, hornblende gabbro dyke in the Southeast Extension Zone of the massive sulfide Ovoid deposit. The dyke has somewhat elevated concentrations of platinum-group elements (PGE) and gold (up to 1.95g/t Pt, 1.41g/t Pd, and 6.59 g/t Au), as well as Cu, Pb, Ag, Sn, Te, Bi and Sb. The PGM formed by magmatic processes and were little disturbed by subsequent infiltration of an externally-supplied hydrothermal fluid. To date, no similar PGM occurrences have been discovered in the Ovoid deposit itself. Whole rock REE patterns indicate that the dyke is geochemically related to the main conduit troctolites, which carry the bulk of the massive sulfide mineralization at Voisey's Bay. The PGE mineralization is Pt- and Pd-rich, where the Pt and Pd occur predominantly as discrete PGM with minor Pd in solid solution in galena (average=1.8 ppm) and pentlandite (average=2 ppm). The discrete PGM are predominantly hosted by disseminated base-metal sulfides (bornite, chalcopyrite, and galena) (56vol%) and are associated with other precious metal minerals (13 vol%) with only ∼vol% of the PGM hosted by silicate minerals. In whole rock samples, the PPGE (Pt, Pd, and Rh) correlate with abundances of chalcopyrite, bornite, galena, and other precious metal minerals (PMM), whereas the IPGE (Ir, Ru, and Rh) correlate with pyrrhotite and pentlandite. There are no correlations of the PGE with chlorine. Lead isotope compositions of galena associated with the PGE mineralization in the Southeast Extension Zone are broadly similar to those for galena in the Ovoid. The lead isotope compositions are much different from those in the Voisey's Bay Syenite, which is a potential external hydrothermal fluid source. The observed Cu-rich, Pb-rich sulfide compositions and associated Pt-Pd-Au-Ag-Sn-Te-Bi-Sb assemblage in the dyke can be produced magmatically as late ISS differentiates (e.g., Prichard et al., 2004). Melting temperatures of the PGM are also consistent with a magmatic origin. Following crystallization of PGM from magmatic sulfide, an external REE-enriched hydrothermal fluid was introduced to the system, producing secondary amphibole and locally remobilizing the Pb and Sn from the sulfides hosting the PGM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-164
Number of pages36
JournalMineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2008


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