Abstract

Massive sulphide deposits are closely associated with felsic volcanism. This association is believed to be genetic and it forms the cornerstone for most exploration programs, but unfortunately not all felsic volcanic rocks contain ore. It seems likely that ore-bearing felsic volcanic rocks have a different genetic history from those that are barren and, if this is so, these differences should be reflected in their REE geochemistry.A preliminary study of REE in Archean felsic volcanic rocks has shown that those associated with ore have flat REE patterns with well-developed Eu anomalies whereas those from barren volcanic rocks have steep REE patterns with weak or absent Eu anomalies. The felsic volcanic rocks associated with ore can be subdivided into two types: tholeiitic and calc-alkaline. Kam-Kotia, Matagami, and South Bay are tholeiitic whereas Sturgeon Lake, Golden Grove, and Kuroko are calc-alkaline.The well-developed Eu anomalies in the ore-related felsic volcanic rocks indicate that the melt has undergone a high degree of fractional crystallization en route to the surface, suggesting the existence of a subvolcanic magma chamber below the orebody. The characteristic REE patterns of the ore-associated felsic volcanics should help mining companies in area selection for massive sulphide exploration.

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