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Suitability of surficial media for Ni-Cu-PGE exploration in an established mining camp; a case study from the South Range of the Sudbury igneous complex, Canada

Sarah Hashmi, Matthew I. Leybourne, Stewart Hamilton, Daniel Layton-Matthews and M. Beth McClenaghan
Suitability of surficial media for Ni-Cu-PGE exploration in an established mining camp; a case study from the South Range of the Sudbury igneous complex, Canada
Geochemistry - Exploration, Environment, Analysis (November 2021) 22 (1)

Abstract

A geochemical study over the southwestern part of the South Range of the Sudbury Igneous Complex (SIC) was completed to assess the suitability of surficial media (humus, B-horizon soil and C-horizon soil) for delineating geochemical anomalies associated with Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization. Another objective was to test whether Na pyrophosphate can eliminate the effects of anthropogenic contamination in humus. Results of this study suggest that the natural geochemical signature of humus is strongly overprinted by anthropogenic contamination. Despite no indication of underlying or nearby mineralization, metal concentrations in humus samples by aqua regia collected downwind from smelting operations are higher compared to background, including up to 13 times higher for Pt, 12 times higher for Cu and 9 times higher for Ni. The high anthropogenic background masks the geogenic signal such that it is only apparent in humus samples collected in the vicinity of known Ni-Cu-PGE deposits. Results of this study also demonstrate that anthropogenically-derived atmospheric fallout also influences the upper B-horizon soil; however, lower B-horizon soil (at >20 cm depth) and C-horizon soil (both developed in till) are not affected. Glacial dispersal from Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization is apparent in C-horizon till samples analyzed in this study. Compared to the background concentrations, the unaffected C-horizon till samples collected immediately down-ice of the low-sulfide, high precious metal (LSHPM) Vermilion Cu-Ni-PGE deposit are enriched over 20 times in Pt (203 ppb), Au (81 ppm) and Cu (963 ppm), and over 30 times in Ni (1283 ppm). Supplementary material: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5691080


ISSN: 1467-7873
EISSN: 2041-4943
Serial Title: Geochemistry - Exploration, Environment, Analysis
Serial Volume: 22
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Suitability of surficial media for Ni-Cu-PGE exploration in an established mining camp; a case study from the South Range of the Sudbury igneous complex, Canada
Affiliation: Queen's University, Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queen's Facility for Isotope Research, Kingston, ON, Canada
Published: 20211109
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society Publishing House, London, United Kingdom
References: 124
Accession Number: 2021-075967
Categories: Geochemistry of rocks, soils, and sedimentsEconomic geology, geology of ore deposits
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 5 tables, geol. sketch maps
N46°21'00" - N46°27'00", W81°34'60" - W81°17'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Ontario Geological Survey, CAN, CanadaGeological Survey of Canada, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 202153
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