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Petrogenesis of thick, high-grade PGE mineralisation in the Flatreef, northern Bushveld Complex

Maier, Wolfgang ORCID:, Barnes, Stephen J., Godel, Belinda M., Grobler, Danie and Smith, William D. ORCID: 2023. Petrogenesis of thick, high-grade PGE mineralisation in the Flatreef, northern Bushveld Complex. Mineralium Deposita 58 , pp. 881-902. 10.1007/s00126-022-01156-6

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The Flatreef of the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex is a world-class platinum-group element (PGE) deposit representing the down-dip extension of the Platreef. Exploration drilling in the central portion of the project area intersected a particularly thick PGE-mineralised portion of the Flatreef exposed in drill core TMT006 and its two deflections, containing 4.5 ppm PGE (Pt + Pd + Rh + Au) over 90 m and ~ 3.7 ppm PGE over 150 m. Data obtained using whole rock geochemical analysis, field emission scanning electron microscopy, micro X-ray fluorescence and X-ray computed tomography indicate that the PGE are hosted by, or are spatially closely associated with, disseminated sulfides that occur interstitial to the cumulus silicate minerals. PGE grades show a broad, albeit irregular trend of progressive downward decrease, whereas most metal ratios (Cu/Ni, Pt/Rh, Cu/Pd and, to a lesser degree, Pt/Pd) remain broadly constant throughout the 90 m main ore zone. These features are interpreted to reflect two stages of ore formation: (i) hydrodynamic concentration of sulfidic ultramafic crystal mushes and (ii) localised downward percolation of sulfide melt in response to fluidisation of the cumulate mush caused by infiltration of ascending magmatic or crustal fluids. The model is consistent with the close spatial association of the sulfides with interstitial plagioclase as well as accessory phlogopite, quartz, apatite and rutile, whereas cumulus orthopyroxene is largely free of sulfide.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0026-4598
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 January 2023
Date of Acceptance: 2 December 2022
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 23:48

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