Abstract

The Eastern Gabbro, Coldwell Complex, hosts several geochemically and mineralogically distinct Cu-platinum group element (PGE) deposits, including the high-grade W Horizon (>100 ppm Pd-Pt-Au over 2 m). Several magmatic and/or hydrothermal models have previously been proposed to explain the range of enrichment in PGEs observed in the Marathon deposit, but no work has integrated textural and compositional variations in sulfides to elucidate which of these models is most suitable. Additionally, comparatively little work has been done to characterize the genesis of Cu-PGE mineralization that occurs to the northwest of the Marathon deposit in the Eastern Gabbro. Through integration of base metal sulfide (BMS) mineralogy, texture, and trace element chemistry, a wide range of magmatic and postmagmatic processes have been characterized that contributed to the formation of these deposits. In all zones of mineralization in the Eastern Gabbro, chalcophile elements were remobilized from primary chalcopyrite by hydrothermal fluids and precipitated as secondary chalcopyrite, which occurs as a replacement of pyrrhotite and as intergrowths with hydrous silicates. BMSs in the mineralized zones in the Marathon deposit (Footwall zone, Main zone, and W Horizon) experienced higher R factors than those deposits located northwest of the Marathon deposit (Four Dams, Area 41, and Redstone), with BMSs in the W Horizon having experienced the highest R factors. The silicate melts from which the Footwall zone crystallized likely experienced some degree of sulfide segregation at depth, albeit to a much lesser degree than the northern deposits. Additionally, the melts from which the mineralized zones in the Marathon deposit crystallized were likely contaminated by high-S/Se Archean sedimentary rocks, whereas the northern deposits were likely contaminated by low-S/Se igneous and/or metamorphic rocks. BMSs in a chalcopyrite-rich pod located within the vicinity of the Coldwell Complex experienced both high R factors and high degrees of contamination (cf. W Horizon and Footwall zone, respectively). This study illustrates the complexity of processes that generate and modify mineralization in conduit-type Ni-Cu-PGE systems.

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