Abstract

Cu-Ni-PGE footwall ore deposits were studied in the McCreedy East and Whistle mines along the North Range, and the Lindsley and Little Stobie mines along the South Range of the Sudbury Igneous Complex. The footwall ores in these localities differ from typical magmatic Fe-Ni-Cu-PGE deposits in the Sudbury mining camp: they have higher Cu/Ni ratios, higher PGE content, vein-like appearance and ubiquitous association of ore with hydrous silicates. Results of comparative fluid inclusion petrography and microthermometry of footwall ores indicate that high temperatures (300°C to 480°C) and heavy-metal rich saline (up to about 40 NaCl equivalent wt% salinity) fluids were associated with the formation of the PGE-rich footwall ores at moderately high pressures (around 2 kbars). However, several, possibly independent fluid circulation stages were also found at the different localities and there also are differences in detailed characteristics for ore-forming fluids especially comparing data from the North Range and the South Range. Thus, in addition to the high temperature and salinity of fluids, there are local variations in the nature of hydrothermal processes. These differences may be related to the diverse origin of fluids (magmatic, metamorphic, and formational brines) and their differing extents of interaction with the compositionally different footwall lithologies.

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