Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 485–504 | Cite as

The Boliden gold-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, Skellefte district, Sweden: new U–Pb age constraints and implications at deposit and district scale

  • Patrick Mercier-Langevin
  • Vicky McNicoll
  • Rodney L. Allen
  • James H. S. Blight
  • Benoît Dubé


The Boliden deposit (8.3 Mt at 15.9 g/t Au) is interpreted to have been formed between ca. 1894 and 1891 Ma, based on two new U–Pb ID-TIMS ages: a maximum age of 1893.9 + 2.0/−1.9 Ma obtained from an altered quartz and feldspar porphyritic rhyolite in the deposit footwall in the volcanic Skellefte group and a minimum age of 1890.8 ± 1 Ma obtained from a felsic mass-flow deposit in the lowermost part of the volcano-sedimentary Vargfors group, which forms the stratigraphic hanging wall to the deposit. These ages are in agreement with the alteration and mineralization being formed at or near the sea floor in the volcanogenic massive sulfide environment. These two ages and the geologic relationships imply that: (1) volcanism and hydrothermal activity in the Skellefte group were initiated earlier than 1.89 Ga which was previously considered to be the onset of volcanism in the Skellefte group; (2) the volcano-sedimentary succession of the Vargfors group is perhaps as old as 1892 Ma in the eastern part of the Skellefte district; and (3) an early (synvolcanic) deformation event in the Skellefte group is evidenced by the unconformity between the ≤1893.9 + 2.0/−1.9 Ma Skellefte group upper volcanic rocks and the ≤1890.8 ± 1 Ma Vargfors sedimentary and volcanic rocks in the Boliden domain. Differential block tilting, uplift, and subsidence controlled by synvolcanic faults in an extensional environment is likely, perhaps explaining some hybrid VMS-epithermal characteristics shown by the VMS deposits of the district.


Boliden Gold-rich VMS Skellefte Geochronology Paleoproterozoic 



The authors wish to express their most sincere appreciation to Boliden Mineral AB and the Boliden Exploration group, more particularly, H. Årebäck, J. Nylander, A. Allen, R. Nordin, A. Wasström, M. van Dijk, H. Paulick, and T. Hermansson, for having shared their knowledge of the Skellefte district, logistical support, critical review and authorization to publish. G. Algmam helped with the compilation of past production figures for the Skellefte district. This study is part of the Targeted Geoscience Initiative of the Geological Survey of Canada and Natural Resources Canada. It is also a contribution to the IGCP-502 project. We are grateful to H.K. Poulsen and P. Eilu for very constructive discussions on district scale metallogeny. J. Peressini, L. Cataldo, and C. Lafontaine assisted with the generation of the U–Pb data. The manuscript greatly benefited from comments and suggestions by A. Galley, V. Bécu, and two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Mercier-Langevin
    • 1
  • Vicky McNicoll
    • 2
  • Rodney L. Allen
    • 3
    • 4
  • James H. S. Blight
    • 5
  • Benoît Dubé
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Survey of CanadaQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Geological Survey of CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Boliden Mineral, Exploration DepartmentGarpenbergSweden
  4. 4.Lulea University of TechnologyLuleaSweden
  5. 5.Boliden Mineral, Exploration DepartmentBolidenSweden

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