Abstract

The high-grade Flying Fox komatiite-hosted Ni sulfide deposit, located in the Forrestania greenstone belt of the Archean Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, is hosted in a deformed and metamorphosed volcano-metasedimentary succession. Postmineralization events have sheared and modified the texture and composition of the original massive sulfide ore, creating up to 11 distinct ore shoots including massive, stringer/vein, and breccia sulfides composed of pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite, and variable abundances of pyrite ranging up to 40 vol %.

Nickel and platinum group elements (PGE) tenor variations were investigated in two ore shoots, T4 and T5. All mineralization styles show considerable variability in Ni tenor. PGEs show strong linear correlations between Ir, Os, Ru, and Rh, but poor correlation between Pt, Pd, and Cu. The normalized molar proportions of Fe, Ni, and S, projected into the Fe-Ni-S ternary system, show a distinct linear trend of pyrite addition to a typical primary magmatic composition and no correlation with mineralization style. The high pyrite content present throughout the Flying Fox ore is also associated with elevated Cu and As contents and is interpreted to be primarily due to the addition of pyrite from circulating Fe-, S-, Cu-, and As-enriched fluids creating pyrite-pentlandite intergrowths. Localized mechanical segregation of pyrite, sulfidation of pyrrhotite to pyrite, and oxidation of pyrrhotite to pyrite + magnetite has also contributed to these increased pyrite contents, although to a lesser extent. The addition and segregation of pyrite has diluted the Ni tenor, with no evidence to suggest chemical mobilization of Ni.

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