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Uraniferous bitumen nodules in the Talvivaara Ni–Zn–Cu–Co deposit (Finland): influence of metamorphism on uranium mineralization in black shales

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In the central part of the Fennoscandian Shield, the Talvivaara Ni–Zn–Cu–Co deposit, hosted by Palaeoproterozoic metamorphosed black schists, contains low uranium concentrations ranging from 10 to 30 ppm. The Talvivaara black schists were deposited 2.0–1.9 Ga ago and underwent subsequent metamorphism during the 1.9–1.79 Ga Svecofennian orogeny. Anhedral uraninite crystals rimmed by bitumen constitute the main host of uranium. U–Pb secondary ion mass spectrometry dating indicates that uraninite crystals were formed between 1,878 ± 17 and 1,871 ± 43 Ma, during peak metamorphism. Rare earth element patterns and high Th content (average 6.38 wt%) in disseminated uraninite crystals indicate that U was concentrated during high temperature metamorphism (>400 °C). The formation of bitumen rims around uraninite may be explained by two distinct scenarios: (a) a transport of U coincident with the migration of hydrocarbons or (b) post-metamorphic formation of bitumen rims, through radiolytic polymerization of gaseous hydrocarbons at the contact with uraninite.

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The authors would like to thank Talvivaara Mining Company for welcoming us on the field, providing us the samples used in this study, and for technical and scientific assistance. We acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions and G. Beaudoin for his help in the final edition of the manuscript. This work was supported by Institut Carnot Énergie et Environnement en Lorraine, Labex Ressources 21 (ANR-10-LABX-21-02), and AREVA.

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Correspondence to Andreï Lecomte.

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Editorial handling: R.L. Romer

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Lecomte, A., Cathelineau, M., Deloule, E. et al. Uraniferous bitumen nodules in the Talvivaara Ni–Zn–Cu–Co deposit (Finland): influence of metamorphism on uranium mineralization in black shales. Miner Deposita 49, 513–533 (2014).

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  • Talvivaara
  • Black shale
  • Uranium
  • Bitumen nodules
  • Metamorphism