ABSTRACT

The mafic-ultramafic Samapleu deposits of the Yacouba complex, which host nickel, copper sulfides, and platinum-group minerals, are located in the Biankouma-Silipou region, western Ivory Coast. These intrusions originate from the mantle and would have been established during the Proterozoic (2.09 Ga) around 22 km deep within the Archean granulites (3.6–2.7 Ga) which at least partially contaminated them.

Platinum-group and sulfide minerals from the Samapleu deposits were studied using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, the electronic microprobe, X-ray fluorescence, fire assay, and a Thermo Fisher Scientific Delta S isotope ratio mass spectrometer system.

The sulfide mineralization (mainly pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite ± pyrite) is mainly disseminated with, in places, semi-massive to massive sulfide veins. It is especially abundant in pyroxenite horizons with net or breccia textures.

The isotopic ratios of sulfur measured from the sulfides (an average of 0.1‰), the R factor (between 1500 and 10,000), and the Cu/Pd ratios indicate a mantle source.

Thus, the sulfides would have formed from sulfide liquids produced by immiscibility from the silicate mantle magma under mafic-ultramafic intrusion emplacement conditions and with possible geochemical modification of the magmas by assimilation of the surrounding continental crust.

The platinum-group minerals (michenerite, merenskyite, moncheite, Co-rich gersdorffite, irarsite, and hollingworthite) are mainly associated with the sulfide phases. The nature of the platinum-group minerals is indicative of the probable role of late-magmatic hydrothermal fluids during the mineralizing process.

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