Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 319–335 | Cite as

Discriminant diagrams for iron oxide trace element fingerprinting of mineral deposit types

  • Céline Dupuis
  • Georges BeaudoinEmail author


Magnetite and hematite are common minerals in a range of mineral deposit types. These minerals form partial to complete solid solutions with magnetite, chromite, and spinel series, and ulvospinel as a result of divalent, trivalent, and tetravalent cation substitutions. Electron microprobe analyses of minor and trace elements in magnetite and hematite from a range of mineral deposit types (iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG), Kiruna apatite–magnetite, banded iron formation (BIF), porphyry Cu, Fe-Cu skarn, Fe-Ti, V, Cr, Ni-Cu-PGE, Cu-Zn-Pb volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) and Archean Au-Cu porphyry and Opemiska Cu veins) show compositional differences that can be related to deposit types, and are used to construct discriminant diagrams that separate different styles of mineralization. The Ni + Cr vs. Si + Mg diagram can be used to isolate Ni-Cu-PGE, and Cr deposits from other deposit types. Similarly, the Al/(Zn + Ca) vs. Cu/(Si + Ca) diagram can be used to separate Cu-Zn-Pb VMS deposits from other deposit types. Samples plotting outside the Ni-Cu-PGE and Cu-Zn-Pb VMS fields are discriminated using the Ni/(Cr + Mn) vs. Ti + V or Ca + Al + Mn vs. Ti + V diagrams that discriminate for IOCG, Kiruna, porphyry Cu, BIF, skarn, Fe-Ti, and V deposits.


Magnetite Hematite Mineral deposit Electron microprobe Mineral chemistry Discriminant diagram 



This research has been funded by the DIVEX research network, the Geological Survey of Canada and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant to GB. We would like to thank our colleagues in industry, government, and academia that have donated the samples used for this study: Doug Kirwin (Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.), Mark Cruise (Cardero Resources Corp.), Tim Fletcher (Barrick Gold UK Limited), Danielle Giovenezzo (formely Xstrata Nickel), Bruce Durham (Canadian Royalties Inc.), Peter Lightfoot (Vale), Gilles Roy (Xstrata Zinc), Patrice Roy (Géologie Québec), Louise Corriveau, Isabelle McMartin, Dorren E. Ames, Beth McClenaghan and Jan Peter (GSC), Marc Constantin, Éric David, Marjorie Simard (Université Laval), Michel Gauthier, Michel Jébrak and Renan Furic (UQAM), Olivier Côté-Mantha (UQAC), Jeremy P. Richards (University of Alberta), Meghan Jackson, Paul Jago and Janina Micko (University of British Columbia), Larry Meinert (Smith College), Jochen Kolb (RWTH Aachen University), Luis Fontboté, Aldo Bendezu, and Kalin Kouzmanov (Université de Genève), Khin Zaw (University of Tasmania). Marc Choquette has provided outstanding technical support with the microprobe analyses. Editor Patrick Williams and two anonymous reviewers provided numerous comments that improved significantly the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de géologie et de génie géologiqueUniversité LavalQuébec (QC)Canada

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