Most magmatic chromite deposits, particularly those in stratiform layered ultramafic-mafic intrusions, are interpreted to have formed by processes that decrease the solubility of chromite. However, such models have difficulty in explaining the great thicknesses (up to 10 m) of chromite mineralization at Inyala and Railway Block (Zimbabwe), Ipueira-Medrado (Brazil), Uitkomst (South Africa), and Sukinda (India), and the very great (up to 100 m) thicknesses of chromitite at Kemi (Finland) and in the Black Thor Intrusive Complex (Canada). We propose a new process that involves partial melting of Fe ± Ti oxide–rich rocks (oxide-facies iron formation or ferrogabbro) and conversion of fine-grained oxide to chromite by reaction with Cr-rich komatiitic magma in a dynamic magma conduit. This process is analogous to the widely accepted model for the upgrading of barren iron-sulfide xenomelts to form magmatic nickel–copper–platinum group element deposits. We demonstrate that this process is geologically, physically, and chemically feasible, that it probably occurred in the Black Thor Intrusive Complex, and that it may have applications elsewhere.
Research Article|January 18, 2019
Genesis of chromite deposits by dynamic upgrading of Fe ± Ti oxide xenocrysts