The McAra deposit is in eastern Ontario, Canada, and is hosted in an Archean inlier to the Paleoproterozoic Huronian basin. It is currently estimated to contain ∼2.4 million pounds of cobalt at an average grade of 1.25%. New drill data show the mineralized zone comprises glaucodot–cobaltite veins and breccias that transect a mafic–siliciclastic volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit. The high cobalt grade and host stratigraphy at the McAra deposit contrast with five-element (Ag–Co–Ni–Bi–As) deposits at the Cobalt and Gowganda camps in the region that produced high-grade silver and by-product cobalt from veins spatially associated with Nipissing Gabbro intrusions. However, geochemical data from recent core samples alongside fluid inclusion and mineralogical data suggest the cobalt zone at McAra and the five-element veins share a similar metal assemblage and were deposited from similar fluids. The mafic–siliciclastic VMS deposit at McAra contains anomalous amounts of cobalt, suggesting the Archean host stratigraphy was the source for the high-grade cobalt zone. Basin brines in the Paleoproterozoic are interpreted to have leached cobalt from Archean rocks and then redeposited it through oxidation–reduction reactions along synvolcanic faults that controlled earlier VMS deposit formation. High-resolution aeromagnetic data show that McAra is immediately adjacent to a mafic dike that transects the Huronian basin along a northwest-striking, crustal-scale fault system. These data, alongside observations from field mapping, also suggest the deposit is on the margin of a sub-basin that contains an 80 km2 Nipissing sill that may have originally overlain the deposit area and been a hydrologic seal during mineralization. The new deposit- and regional-scale data and interpretations are used to create a model for the McAra deposit and provide evidence for why it is cobalt-rich relative to other five-element veins. The model and data can be used to guide exploration for additional cobalt-rich deposits in the region and similar settings globally.
Regional and local controls on Archean rock-hosted cobalt mineralization at the McAra deposit, southern Superior Province, Ontario, Canada
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Michael D. Hendrickson; Regional and local controls on Archean rock-hosted cobalt mineralization at the McAra deposit, southern Superior Province, Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 2020;; 57 (12): 1447–1462. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2020-0059
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