Low-sulfide platinum group element (PGE) mineralization of the Norilsk-type intrusions is located within the Upper Gabbroic Series, which comprises rocks heterogeneous in texture and composition. The highest grade of 10 to 50 g/t PGEs is confined primarily to chromitiferous taxitic gabbrodolerite, which forms irregular lens- and vein-like bodies that interfinger with contact gabbrodolerite, intrusion breccia, leucogabbro, and gabbrodolerite variably enriched in olivine, from olivine free up to picritic compositions. The abundant amygdules and pegmatoidal textures in Upper Gabbroic Series taxitic rocks, as well as the high enrichment of halogen in minerals (e.g., ≤4.6 wt % Cl in apatite), indicate a higher volatile content of the local magma compared to the magma that precipitated the Main Series. The observed diversity in spinel compositions, which evolve from chromite to Cr magnetite as well as toward hercynite, titanomagnetite, and ulvöspinel, is also indicative of crystallization from a fluid-saturated mush that subsequently reacted, to varying degrees, with contaminated trapped melt and immiscible fluid.
The high PGE/S ratio is a primary feature of this mineralization style, albeit the ratio partly increased during sulfide replacement and resorption. The PGE tenor of bulk sulfides calculated as ΣPGE (g/t) in 100% sulfides exceeds 160 and may reach up to 1,400 to 2,500 in low-S ores (0.2–3 wt % S), whereas the value does not exceed 42 in the Talnakh disseminated ore and ranges from 35 to 120 in the Norilsk disseminated ore (1–10 wt % S). Several PGE peaks in the vertical sections correlate well with Cu, Ni, S, and Cr peaks, as well as with observed elevated proportion of amygdules. Low-sulfide ores are composed of two primary sulfide assemblages of pyrrhotite + pentlandite + chalcopyrite and pentlandite + pyrrhotite. The primary sulfides are depleted in the heavier 34S isotope relative to sulfides of the corresponded main orebodies (e.g., mean δ34S = 8.9‰ versus δ34S = 12.3‰, respectively, in the Kharaelakh intrusion). A secondary pyrite + millerite + chalcopyrite assemblage has isotope composition enriched in 34S by 2 to 6‰ δ34S with respect to primary sulfides. The directly measured PGE content in sulfides (e.g., 11–2,274 g/t Pd in pentlandite and 0.10–33.3 g/t Rh in pyrrhotite) is within the range of the typical Norilsk-type magmatic sulfide compositions. The textural setting and diversity of platinum group minerals (PGMs) favor the hypothesis of fluid-controlled crystallization. However, the distinct PGM assemblages in Norilsk 1 and Talnakh-Kharaelakh low-sulfide ores are comparable with those of the corresponding presumably magmatic disseminated and massive orebodies. The most remarkable characteristic is the widespread Pt-Fe alloys in Norilsk 1 and their absence in Talnakh-Kharaelakh, which is interpreted to reflect better preservation of the high-temperature PGMs in Norilsk 1 in contrast to their substantial replacement in more oxidized fluid-enriched environments in Talnakh-Kharaelakh.