Abstract

The Paleoproterozoic Great Bear magmatic zone is the focus of ongoing exploration for iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits and also hosts iron oxide-apatite occurrences. Examples of IOCG deposits in the Great Bear magmatic zone include Sue-Dianne and NICO, and other smaller prospects, including Damp, Fab, and Nori/Ra. The past-producing Terra mine property hosts significant IOCG-like alteration that contains dome-shaped, iron oxide-apatite bodies. Petrographic study has identified multiple generations of magnetite at NICO, Fab, and Nori/Ra and, for the most part, a single generation of magnetite at Sue-Dianne, Damp, and Terra. Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) documents important geochemical differences in V, Ni, Cr, and Co concentrations within the magnetite. Variations of trace elements in magnetite from the Great Bear magmatic zone could be a result of (1) host rock-fluid equilibration during regional metamorphism, (2) postmetamorphic hydrothermal metasomatism of Treasure Lake Group metasedimentary rocks, (3) preferential solubility of Co over Ni within the Fe-rich fluids, (4) changes in oxygen fugacity (fO2), and (5) partitioning of elements into coprecipitating sulfides. Regionally, the Cr/Co ratio is higher in barren and pre-ore magnetite compared to magnetite coprecipitated with ore minerals and/or present in ore-rich veins and breccias. Locally, at the Nori/Ra prospect, the V/Ni ratio in magnetite differentiates between barren and ore-related magnetite, and at Damp and Sue-Dianne the Co/Ni ratio is extremely high and clearly different from that of other Great Bear magmatic zone magnetite samples. These results provide the first database for geochemically characterized magnetite from different stages of IOCG alteration and illustrate the potential use of magnetite as an indicator mineral in the exploration for IOCG deposits.

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