Abstract

The geology of the Ore Fault Ni-Cu deposit has been reinterpreted in the light of recent studies of the geology of the Neoarchean Bird River Sill Complex and the occurrence of economic Ni-Cu and Zn-Cu-Ag mineralization. The Ni-Cu sulfides are hosted by the lower of two parallel NNW-trending and moderately W-dipping mafic–ultramafic intrusions related to the Bird River Sill Complex. The bodies intruded a bimodal volcanic suite consisting of weakly deformed mafic flows and felsic pyroclastic rocks. The mafic volcanic rocks are geochemically related to the MORB-type rocks of the Lamprey Falls Formation, and the felsic volcanic rocks are related to arc-type rocks of the Peterson Creek Formation. The original pyroxene- and olivine-dominated mineralogy of the sills has been replaced by variable serpentine-amphibole-talc-carbonate assemblages.

The Ni-Cu sulfide assemblage exhibits textures and geochemical signatures typical of orthomagmatic sulfide mineralization. The sulfide minerals are associated with cumulate layers of magnetic ferrochromite that range in thickness from a few to tens of centimeters. A later event of Zn-Cu-Ag sulfide mineralization associated with quartz veining and garnet-chlorite alteration along a fault that strikes north, dips vertically, and cuts all rock types. The mineralized fault is cut by the NE-trending Peterson Creek shear zone. Where the Ni-Cu and Zn-Cu-Ag mineralized zones intersect, remnant magmatic features such as amphibolite or cumulate ferrochromite bands occur within quartz veins or local chlorite alteration. The mixed zones contain a very unusual polymetallic assemblage of Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag, and platinum group elements (PGE).

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