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TitleSuitability of surficial media for Ni-Cu-PGE exploration in an established mining camp: a case study from the South Range of the Sudbury Igneous Complex, Canada
AuthorHashmi, SORCID logo; Leybourne, M IORCID logo; Hamilton, S; Layton-Matthews, DORCID logo; McClenaghan, M BORCID logo
SourceGeochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis vol. 22, no. 1, 2022 p. 1-22, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210381
PublisherThe Geological Society
Mediapaper; digital; on-line
File formatpdf; html
NTS41I/05; 41I/06
AreaDenison Township; Drury Township
Lat/Long WENS -81.5833 -81.3000 46.4500 46.3500
Subjectseconomic geology; regional geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; soils science; geochemistry; environmental geology; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; Economics and Industry; mineral exploration; mineral potential; mineral deposits; nickel; copper; mineralization; mineral occurrences; environmental studies; soils; soil horizons; soil samples; organic materials; glacial deposits; tills; soil geochemistry; till geochemistry; geochemical anomalies; metals; mining; mines; smelters; bedrock geology; lithology; igneous rocks; intrusive rocks; volcanic rocks; metamorphic rocks; glacial history; ice flow; sediment transport; platinum geochemistry; gold geochemistry; copper geochemistry; nickel geochemistry; Archean; Paleoproterozoic; Neoarchean; Mesoproterozoic; Neoproterozoic; Sudbury Igneous Complex; Vermilion Deposit; Worthington Offset; Sudbury Breccia; Creighton Pluton; Huronian Supergroup; Hough Lake Group; Elliot Lake Group; East Bull Lake Igneous Suite; Sudbury Dike Swarm; Nipissing Mafic Intrusive Suite; platinum group elements; Environmental impact; Contaminated sites; Mining industry; Atmospheric emissions; ice-flow directions; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary; Precambrian; Proterozoic
Illustrationstables; location maps; geoscientific sketch maps; geochemical profiles; schematic representations
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-6) Ore systems
Released2022 02 01
AbstractA geochemical study over the southwestern part of the South Range of the Sudbury Igneous Complex was completed to assess the suitability of surficial media (humus, B-horizon soil and C-horizon soil) for delineating geochemical anomalies associated with Ni-Cu-PGE (platinum group element) mineralization. Another objective was to test whether Na pyrophosphate can eliminate the effects of anthropogenic contamination in humus. Results of this study suggest that the natural geochemical signature of humus is strongly overprinted by anthropogenic contamination. Despite no indication of underlying or nearby mineralization, metal concentrations in humus samples by aqua regia collected downwind from smelting operations are higher compared to background, including up to 13 times higher for Pt, 12 times higher for Cu and nine times higher for Ni. The high anthropogenic background masks the geogenic signal such that it is only apparent in humus samples collected in the vicinity of known Ni-Cu-PGE deposits. Results of this study also demonstrate that anthropogenically derived atmospheric fallout also influences the upper B-horizon soil; however, lower B-horizon soil (at >20 cm depth) and C-horizon soil (both developed in till) are not affected. Glacial dispersal from Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization is apparent in C-horizon till samples analysed in this study. Compared to the background concentrations, the unaffected C-horizon till samples collected immediately down-ice of the low-sulfide, high precious metal Vermilion Cu-Ni-PGE deposit are enriched over 20 times in Pt (203 ppb), Au (81 ppm) and Cu (963 ppm), and over 30 times in Ni (1283 ppm).
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This paper reports the soil geochemistry signature of nickel-copper-platinum group element mineralization in the glaciated terrain of the Sudbury Mining District and was conducted as PhD thesis by Sarah Hashmi. The Geological Survey of Canada, through its Targeted Geoscience Initiative, provided supervision and guidance of this research project.

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