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Book Chapter

Copper-Rich Magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE Deposits

By
D.R. Burrows
D.R. Burrows
1
Vale Global Exploration Technical Services, Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada P0M 1N0
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C.M. Lesher
C.M. Lesher
2
Mineral Exploration Research Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6
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Published:
January 01, 2012

Abstract

Copper production from magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE deposits represents a relatively small (∼ 4.5%) but important contribution to worldwide Cu production. Noril'sk (Russia), Sudbury (Ontario), Voisey's Bay (Labrador), and Jinchuan (China) are all significant producers with annual production > 50,000 metric tons (t) of copper. The larger Cu-Ni-PGE magmatic deposits occur throughout geologic time, formed in a range of tectonic settings but predominantly at craton margins or marginal basins and in a range of volcanic-subvolcanic-intrusive settings, and are associated with most mafic-ultramafic magma types. A few examples (Aguablanca, Karatungk) are located in arc settings, but it is possible that mafic magmas are generated through asthenosphere upwelling and partial melting in nonsubduction processes. In general, Cu-rich mineralization is favored by Cu-rich (metasomatized) mantle sources, lower degrees of partial melting of mantle (but high enough to consume all of the sulfides in the source), higher degrees of fractional crystallization-assimilation (but not high enough to reach sulfide saturation), upgrading of metal contents through reaction with relatively large amounts of magma (R factors), and/or, in particular, higher degrees of subsequent fractional crystallization of monosulfide solid solution (MSS). In broad terms, Cu-rich varieties tend to be younger (fewer Archean examples) and associated with gabbroic to ferropicritic intrusions, perhaps reflecting an increased component of melting of metasomatized subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) with time.

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Contents

Special Publications of the Society of Economic Geologists

Geology and Genesis of Major Copper Deposits and Districts of the World: A Tribute to Richard H. Sillitoe

Jeffrey W. Hedenquist
Jeffrey W. Hedenquist
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Michael Harris
Michael Harris
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Francisco Camus
Francisco Camus
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
16
ISBN electronic:
9781629490410
Publication date:
January 01, 2012

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