Abstract

The petrogenesis of sulphide ores in the O’okiep district has remained controversial. Based mainly on the concentration of chalcophile metals (PGE, Cu, Ni), it is proposed that the sulphides segregated from a basaltic magma generated during melting of sub-continental lithospheric mantle. Sulphide saturation of the magma was delayed due to relatively high fO2 until crustal contamination occurred during the advanced stages of differentiation. The immiscible sulphide melt was entrained and fractionated in dynamic magma conduits. Sulphides enriched in monosulphide solid solution (mss) component precipitated at depth in the Kliprand area of southern Namaqualand to form the Hondekloof deposits, whereas the O’okiep ores crystallised at shallower levels from highly fractionated residual sulphide liquids enriched in intermediate solid solution (iss). Sulphides of intermediate composition occur at Ezelsfontein. In the context of this model, the O’okiep intrusions could represent the proximal magmatic members of an IOCG suite of deposits, raising the prospect for additional IOCG deposits elsewhere in southern Africa. The model also predicts an enhanced potential at O’okiep for undiscovered Ni sulphide ores at depth.

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