Origins and geochemical characterization of the Iron-Oxide-Copper-Gold deposits in the Great Bear Magmatic Zone, NWT, Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Acosta, P
  • The Great Bear magmatic zone (GBMZ) in the Northwest Territories, Canada, contains the NICO (Au-Co-Bi±Cu-W) and Sue Dianne (Cu-Ag-Au-±U-Co) deposits, and the DAMP and FAB prospects, all of which represent iron-oxide dominated polymetallic systems with comparable alteration and mineralization styles similar to iron-oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposits in Chile and Australia. Also in the study area, is the vein hosted Nori/RA (Mo-U±Cu-REE), which has less affinity to the IOCG class of deposits. In this work, trace and major element analyses, along with stable (C, H, S, O and Cu), radiogenic isotopes (Re-Os), and fluid inclusion studies were used to constrain the origin of the IOCG systems, and the Nori/RA showing, and to suggest the potential of magnetite as a mineral indicator in till sampling exploration surveys. Regionally, the Cr/Co ratio is higher in barren and pre-ore magnetite compared to that of magnetite co-precipitated with ore minerals and/or present in ore-rich veins and breccias. At DAMP and Sue Dianne the Co/Ni ratio is extremely high and clearly different from those of other GBMZ magnetite samples. Collectively, the analytical data supports a magmatic-hydrothermal origin for all these systems that are temporally associated with the emplacement of the Great Bear volcanic arc between 1875 and 1865 Ma. However, some sulfur, copper and arsenic could have been recycled from carbonate-rich metasedimentary and rocks and incorporated in the ore-bearing fluids as is suggested for the NICO deposit. Some copper might have also been leached from felsic volcanic rocks and metasedimentary rocks and incorporated into the GBMZ mineralized systems. In NICO deposit, Ca-Na-Bi(Au?)-bearing, and saline (~20 wt.% NaCl equiv + CaCl2 equiv) to hyper-saline aqueous fluids (>42 wt. % NaCl equiv.) formed at 4 to 8 km depth. The Au mineralization in this system occurred via: (i) remobilization of refractory gold and Bi(?) from Fe-S-As-S mineral phases during re-crystallization of the latter, and (ii) scavenging of Au by Bi melts from co-existing hydrothermal fluids. Despite the stable isotopes signature, and the geochronological constraints, mass balance calculations shows that felsic volcanic and metasedimentary rocks hosting these deposits are feasible sources of metals (e.g., Au, Co and Cu) for the GBMZ IOCG systems. However, for this to be true, it would require high permeabilities and efficient fluids capable of leaching, concentrating and re-precipitating metals at a single site, and a suitable hydraulic regime.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Gleeson, Sarah (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Chacko, Thomas (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Marshall, Dan (Simon Fraser University, BC)
    • Gleeson, Sarah (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Richards, Jeremy (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Currie, Claire (Department of Physics)