ABSTRACT

The Conakry Igneous Complex is a mafic-ultramafic intrusion emplaced contemporaneously with the opening of the Atlantic, forming a complex, 55 km x 5 km dyke-like body within which three main episodes of injection have been recognized, characterized by a lack of mineral layering. Unit 1 consists of dunite and related facies, Unit 2 of wehrlite and pyroxene peridotite and Unit 3 corresponds to various gabbro facies. Units 1 and 2 constitute the Kaloum Peninsula; Unit 3 is its NW extension, forming the 1010 m high Mount Kakoulima. Unit 3 intrudes the two previous units and corresponds to a tholeiitic liquid that crystallized in an almost closed system, and thus exhibits a strong differentiation trend, in contrast to Units 1 and 2. Mineral compositions suggest the existence of a deeper magma chamber where a first stage of differentiation occurred.

Disseminated base-metal sulfides (BMS) are present in all units of the complex and earlier descriptions have mentioned a “massive sulfide layer” with 2 to 4 g/t PGE. Platinum-group minerals (PGM) are almost everywhere included in or attached to composite Ni–Fe–Cu sulfides. Most PGM grains form complex associations resulting either from exsolution or alteration. It is characteristic of the Conakry Igneous Complex PGM, described here for the first time, to be dominated by (Pd,Pt)(Te,Bi) minerals with rare Pd,Sn and Pd,Pb compositions and an absence of Pt,Pd sulfides and Pt,Pd antimonides.

The constant association of the PGM with the BMS shows that the magmatic sulfide liquid acts as an efficient collector of PGE. In such a dynamic environment, the process leading to the formation of massive sulfides must be sought in the accumulation of sulfides in the conduit following host-rock assimilation. Accordingly, considering the multiple injection processes that characterize the whole intrusion, the potential for discovering additional Ni–Cu–PGE mineralization in the Conakry Igneous Complex remains high.

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