Systematic and integrative ore characterization of massive sulfide deposits: An Example from voisey's bay Ni-Cu-Co Ovoid Orebody, Labrador, Canada

M. A.E. Huminicki, P. J. Sylvester, M. Shaffer, D. H.C. Wilton, D. Evans-Lamswood, R. I. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Systematic characterization of the mineralogy of massive sulfide ore deposits can provide valuable insights into ore genesis and metallurgical processing that would not be apparent otherwise. We describe a method wherein (1) normative mineral abundances are calculated from whole-rock chemical assays using an algorithm, (2) the results are cast in block models, (3) the results are then verified with automated image analysis of a subset of samples prepared as grain mounts by backscattered electron imaging and X-ray mapping on a scanning electron microscope, and (4) those verified results are integrated with textural data determined by optical microscopy. The technique is applied to the magmatic Ni-Cu-Co sulfides of the Ovoid orebody, based on geochemical assays of 3175 whole-rock samples. Three principal ore zones are defined in the Ovoid. Type I ore occurs in the center of the deposit; it is magnetite-rich and pyrrhotite-poor with intermediate contents of pentlandite and chalcopyrite. Type II ore surrounds Type I ore and is pentlanditechalcopyrite-rich with intermediate contents of pyrrhotite and magnetite. Type III ore occurs at the base and along the outer periphery of the northern part of the orebody; it is pyrrhotite-rich and chalcopyrite-poor with an intermediate content of pentlandite, and a low-to-intermediate content of mag netite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-86
Number of pages34
JournalExploration and Mining Geology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012



  • Massive sulfide deposits
  • Mineral liberation analyzer
  • Quantitative mineralogy
  • Voisey's Bay Ovoid orebody

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