2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


HEGGIE, G.J.1, FIORENTINI, M.2, BARLEY, M.E.2, BARNES, S.J.3 and STOTT, C.4, (1)School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Centre for Exploration Targeting, Western Australia, Crawley, 6009, Australia, (2)Centre for Exploration Targeting, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Perth, 6009, Australia, (3)CSIRO Exploration and Mining, Australian Resource Research Centre, Kensington, 6102, Australia, (4)Cheif Exploration Geologist, LionOre Australia (Nickel) Pty Ltd, PO Box 906, West Perth, 6872, Australia, heggig01@student.uwa.edu.au

The Lake Johnston greenstone belt, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia hosts structurally complex nickel sulfide ore bodies Maggie Hays and Emily Ann operated by LionOre. Both deposits contain ore zones that occur off contact and exhibit ductile and brittle deformation fabrics. However, primary igneous textures, contacts, and stratigraphic relationships are preserved within the Maggie Hays mine block sequence, as observed through core logging. Preservation of these features provides an opportunity to examine the emplacement style of 2.9 Ga aluminum-depleted mineralized komatiites and compare it to the more common and well-characterized 2.7 Ga aluminum-undepleted systems occurring in the Norseman-Wiluna greenstone belt, Western Australia.

The Maggie Hays mine block sequence is dominated by the Central Ultramafic Unit, a thick, extensively altered cumulate, which hosts disseminated Ni-sulfide mineralization in its lower portion and massive Ni-sulfide along the northern footwall contact. The Central Ultramafic unit is hosted in a sequence of felsic volcanics, metasediments, thin ultramafic and spinifex textured ultramafic units. Felsic volcanics are commonly porphyritic and variably sheared. Metasediments are characterized by dominant alternating chert and magnetite bands, and lesser massive exhalative sulfide. Thin ultramafic units are observed to be cumulate in texture with finer grained margins. Spinifex-textured units are observed immediately above the exhalative metasediments and are commonly thin and differentiated with well-developed B-zone cumulates and A-zone spinifex horizons. Locally, spinifex-textured units are overlain by thick flow top breccia sequences, up to 26m-thick.

We argue that the Central Ultramafic unit intrudes the felsic volcanics and metasediments acting as a magma conduit to the overlying thin ultramafic units and spinifex-textured sequences. Dominant Ni-sulfide accumulation occurs within the intrusive Central Ultramafic unit proximal to the interpreted feeder zone, whereas only minor amounts of Ni-sulfide occur in the overlying ultramafic lithologies. The volcano-stratigraphic architecture of the Maggie Hays setting displays similarities with the world-class Mount-Keith-Cliffs system in the Agnew-Wiluna greenstone belt of Western Australia.