Abstract

Agrium Inc. is a world leader in the production, distribution, and marketing of agricultural products and services in both North America and Argentina. The new phosphate mine and mill complex located southwest of Kapuskasing, Ontario, was constructed to replace an offshore supply of phosphate rock, and produces a high-grade phosphate concentrate. The Cargill Township Carbonatite Complex is one of a series of carbonatite complexes in the region that are hosted by the 1.9 Ga aged Kapuskasing Structural Zone. The carbonatites in the mine area have intruded Archean gneissic granodiorite rocks of the Wawa Subprovince, and metasedimentary rocks of the Quetico Subprovince. The Cargill Carbonatite Complex displays a typical concentric zonation pattern from an outer ring of alkalic pyroxenites, through an inner ring of sövite-carbonatite, to a central core of rauhaugite-carbonatite. The initial carbonatite intrusion and subsequent residual orebody have been modified by faulting such that the northwestern third of the complex has been displaced approximately 2.5 km northeast. The phosphate ores are composed principally of residual apatite sands that were formed by the weathering and dissolution of the soluble minerals of the carbonatite protolith. These ores are subdivided by their iron content into high grade (A ores) and lower grade (B1 and B2) ores. They are separated from the primary unweathered carbonatite by a layer of saprolite, whose thickness varies depending upon the composition of the underlying carbonatite. Cretaceous waste materials consisting of well-sorted silica/kaolinite sand and peat deposits are typically found to stratigraphically overlie the ores. A minor amount of the ore feed comes from cemented phosphate ores. All rock types are covered by Pleistocene glacial tills and clays.

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