Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 757–774 | Cite as

Pt-Os isotopic constraints on the age of hydrothermal overprinting on the Jinchuan Ni-Cu-PGE deposit, China

  • Shenghong YangEmail author
  • Gang YangEmail author
  • Wenjun Qu
  • Andao Du
  • Eero Hanski
  • Yann Lahaye
  • Jiangfeng Chen


Platinum group element (PGE) mineralization occurs associated with mafic-ultramafic rocks in different environments. Although the PGE enrichment is primarily caused by magmatic processes, remobilization of Pd and Pt by hydrothermal fluids has likely been an important mechanism in increasing the precious metal grade in many cases. However, the timing of PGE enrichment by hydrothermal fluid processes is commonly difficult to constrain. The Jinchuan ultramafic intrusion in Northwest China is ranked the world’s third largest magmatic Ni-Cu sulfide deposit. Besides the main ore body consisting of net-textured and disseminated sulfides, there is hydrothermal mineralization associated with sheared contact zones of the intrusion, which shows elevated Cu and Pt concentrations. The unusually high Pt is hosted mainly in sperrylite within altered silicates. In this study, we applied the Pt-Os geochronometer to a Cu-Pt-rich ore body, yielding an isochron age of 436 ± 23 Ma. This age is significantly younger than the main ore formation age of ca. 825 Ma, but similar to that of the continental collision event between the Qaidam-Qilian Block and Alax Block of North China. This indicates that the intrusion may have been uplifted during the Paleozoic orogenic processes from deeper crust, resulting in the generation of the Cu-Pt-rich hydrothermal ore body. Our new data provide the first strong age constraints on the hydrothermal PGE enrichment, showing that the Pt-Os isotope system is potentially a powerful tool for dating hydrothermal overprinting on Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits.


Pt-Os dating Jinchuan Ni-Cu-PGE deposit Hydrothermal overprinting Orogenic uplift 



We are grateful to Tongyou Liu, Fugui Qiao, Jiapu Jiang, Lizhong Xiao, and Rongqi Sun of the Jinchuan Nonferrous Metal Cooperation for their assistance with the fieldwork. We thank Yulong Tian and Yalin Gao of the Jinchuan Nonferrous Metal Cooperation, Zongli Tang and Jiangang Jiao of the Chang’an University, and Li Chusi of the Indiana University for enlightening the discussions. We thank Wang Ruiting of the Northwest Mining and Geology Group Cooperation Limited for providing two samples. We are grateful to Fagang Zeng and Li Li for their assistance in the chemistry related to Pt, Os, Cu, and Ni analyses and to Fengjiao Li for the assistance in the sample preparation for N-TIMS measurements. Holly Stein and Laurie Reisberg are thanked for their constructive and helpful reviews. Wolfgang Maier and Bernd Lehmann are thanked for efficient handling. Fangfang Guo is thanked for helpful suggestions.

Funding information

This work is supported by the NSFC (grant nos. 40373010, 40534020, and 40972070), the Academy of Finland (nos. 276614 and 281859), and the Renlund Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Re-Os Isotope GeochemistryChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Space ScienceUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  3. 3.Oulu Mining SchoolUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  4. 4.AIRIE Program, Department of GeosciencesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  5. 5.Geological Survey of FinlandEspooFinland

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