The Paleoproterozoic Monchegorsk Complex, located in the Russian part of the Fennoscandian Shield, constitutes one of the largest mafic-ultramafic layered intrusions in Europe. The complex hosts extensive contact-style platinum group element-Ni-Cu sulfide mineralization along its margin, irrespective of the host lithology, which ranges from peridotite to pyroxenite and gabbronorite. The mineralized intervals reach up to 3 ppm Pt + Pd and attain a thickness of up to 50 m in the central portions of the intrusion, thinning toward the periphery.
Our study shows that the key process controlling the size and grade of a contact-style deposit in the Mon-chegorsk Complex was the efficiency of sulfide collection in distinct zones of the intrusion. Strongly mineralized basal contacts are always associated with intense brecciation and the presence of large amounts of felsic pegmatite, suggesting a multistage emplacement of the mafic-ultramafic succession. Thermal modeling demonstrates that multiple episodes of magma influx are required to allow for significant partial melting of the basement. Moreover, the interaction between magma and basement led to the local addition of water and, potentially, carbon dioxide to the magma, resulting in local small-scale dissolution of cumulus phases and a reduction in viscosity of the interstitial melt. This increased the porosity of the mush in the vicinity of the lower intrusion contact, which promoted preferential sulfide liquid accumulation at the base, while the local decrease in magma viscosity facilitated gravitational settling of sulfide droplets. These factors led to an efficient collection of sulfide liquid, especially in the center of the complex, where permeability was maintained the longest due to slower cooling relative to more peripheral parts.