The Nova-Bollinger Ni-Cu sulfide ore deposit is the first economic Ni-Cu-Co sulfide deposit to have been discovered in the Albany-Fraser orogen in Western Australia. The host rocks are mafic-ultramafic intrusive cumulates subdivided into two connected intrusions, designated Upper and Lower. The Upper Intrusion is bowl-shaped and modally layered with alternating peridotite and norite mesocumulate layers, with a Basal Series of dominantly orthocumulate mafic lithologies. The Lower Intrusion is a much thinner, semiconformable chonolith (flattened tube-shaped intrusion) consisting of mostly unlayered mafic to ultramafic orthocumulates. The Lower Intrusion hosts all the high-grade mineralization and most of the disseminated ores. A distinctive plagioclase-bearing lherzolite containing both orthopyroxene and olivine as cumulus phases is a characteristic of the Lower Intrusion and the Basal Series of the Upper. The intrusions differ slightly in olivine and spinel chemistry, the differences being largely attributable to the more orthocumulate character of the Lower Intrusion. Sector zoning in Cr content of pyroxenes is observed in the Lower Intrusion and in the lower marginal zone of the Upper and is attributed to crystallization under supercooled conditions. Symplectite pyroxene-spinel-amphibole coronas at olivine-plagioclase contacts are ubiquitous and are attributed to near-solidus peritectic reaction between olivine, plagioclase, and liquid during and after high-pressure emplacement, consistent with high Al contents in igneous pyroxenes and estimates of the peak regional metamorphism. Original cumulus olivines had compositions around Fo86 and were variably Ni depleted, interpreted as the result of preintrusion equilibration with sulfide liquid. The Upper and Lower Intrusion rocks represent cumulates from a similar parental magma, a high-Al tholeiite with MgO between 10 and 12%, low TiO2 (0.5–0.6%), and high Al2O3 (14–17%). Modeling using alphaMELTS indicates a primary water content of around 2 wt %. The cumulates of both intrusions were derived via multiple magma pulses of liquid-olivine-sulfide slurries with variable amounts of orthopyroxene emplaced into the deep crust at pressures of around 0.7 GPa during the peak of regional metamorphism. The intrusions developed initially as a bifurcating sill, the lower arm developing into the ore-bearing Lower Intrusion chonolith and the upper arm inflating into the cyclically layered Upper Intrusion.

You do not currently have access to this article.