Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 166, Issue 1, pp 81–95 | Cite as

Origin of ultra-nickeliferous olivine in the Kevitsa Ni–Cu–PGE-mineralized intrusion, northern Finland

  • Sheng-Hong YangEmail author
  • Wolfgang D. Maier
  • Eero J. Hanski
  • Markku Lappalainen
  • Frank Santaguida
  • Sanna Määttä
Original Paper


The 2,058 ± 4 Ma mafic–ultramafic Kevitsa intrusion is located in the Central Lapland greenstone belt, northern Finland. It is hosted by a Paleoproterozoic volcano–sedimentary sequence that contains komatiitic volcanic rocks and sulfide- and graphite-rich black schists. Economic Ni–Cu–(PGE) sulfide mineralization occurs in the middle part of the ultramafic lower unit of the intrusion. Two main types of ore are distinguished, “normal” and “Ni–PGE” ores. The normal ore is characterized by ~2 to 6 vol% disseminated sulfides and average Ni and Cu grades of 0.3 and 0.42 wt %, respectively (Ni/Cu < 1). The Ni–PGE ore has broadly similar sulfide contents, but a higher Ni grade and lower Cu grade. As a result, the Ni/Cu ratio reaches 15, much higher than in the normal ore. The Ni–PGE ores occur as irregular, discontinuous, lense-like bodies in the ultramafic rocks. Notably, the olivines in the Ni–PGE ore contain extremely high Ni contents of up to 14,000 ppm, which is significantly higher than the Ni content of olivine in other mafic–ultramafic igneous rocks globally (up to ~5,000 ppm) and in harmony with the associated Ni-rich sulfide assemblage containing pentlandite, millerite and pyrite. Microprobe mapping of olivine from the Ni–PGE ore suggests relatively low and homogeneous S contents and homogeneous distribution of Ni, Mg, Fe, which is inconsistent with the presence of sulfide inclusions in the olivine grains, or diffusion of Ni from interstitial sulfides into the olivine grains. We therefore conclude that Ni substitutes for Mg in the olivine lattice. The clinopyroxenes from the Ni–PGE ore also have unusually high Ni concentrations reaching 1,500 ppm and show a positive correlation with the nickel content of the associated olivine. The Nicpx/Niolivine is ~0.1 to 0.2 corresponding to high T partitioning of Ni between clinopyroxene and olivine. K D of 20 can account for the partitioning of nickel between olivine and the sulfide phase, consistent with magmatic equilibration. These data suggest that the olivine, clinopyroxene, and sulfides all crystallized from a basaltic magma with an unexceptionally high Ni content ranging from 300 to 1,100 ppm. The Ni–PGE ores are spatially associated with ultramafic xenoliths. Olivine in these ultramafic xenoliths have relatively high Fo contents (up to 90 mol %) and high Ni contents (up to 5,200 ppm) suggesting that the xenoliths formed from a komatiitic parental magma. It is proposed that assimilation by the Kevitsa magma of massive or semi-massive sulfides associated with komatiitic rocks elevated the Ni content of the magma and resulted in the formation of Ni–PGE ores and related extremely Ni-rich olivines.


Ni–Cu deposit Layered intrusion Olivine Ultra-nickeliferous Paleoproterozoic Finland 



This project was funded by the First Quantum Minerals Ltd, FQM FinnEx Oy. Olli Taikina-aho is thanked for the help of microprobe analyses. We thank Meifu Zhou, Kirsi Luolavirta, Hugh O’Brien, Steve Barnes, Hannu Huhma, Yann Lahaye, Marco Fiorentini for helpful discussions, and Edward M Ripley and an anonymous reviewer for constructive suggestions.

Supplementary material

410_2013_866_MOESM1_ESM.xls (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLS 1.04 MB)
410_2013_866_MOESM2_ESM.xls (127 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLS 127 kb)


  1. Arndt N, Lesher M, Czamanske G (2005) Mafic-ultramafic magmas and their relationship to ore formation. Econ Geol 100th Anniv, vol 5–24Google Scholar
  2. Barnes SJ (1986) The effect of trapped liquid crystallization on cumulus mineral compositions in layered intrusions. Contrib Mineral Petrol 93:524–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes SJ, Lightfoot PC (2005) Formation of magmatic nickel-sulfide ore deposits and processes affecting their copper and platinum-group element contents. In: Hedenquist JW, Thompson JFH, Goldfarb RJ, Richards JP (eds) Econ Geol 100th Anniv, vol 179–213Google Scholar
  4. Barnes SJ, Godel BM, Locmelis M, Fiorentini ML, Ryan CG (2011) Extremely Ni-rich Fe-Ni sulfide assemblages in dunite at Betheno, Western Australia: results from synchrotron X-ray fluorescence mapping. Aust J Earth Sci 58:691–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brenan JM (2003) Effects of fO2, fS2, temperature, and melt composition on Fe–Ni exchange between olivine and sulfide liquid: implications for natural olivine–sulfide assemblages. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 67:2663–2681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crocket JH (2002) Platinum-group element geochemistry of mafic and ultramafic rocks. Can Inst Min Metall Petrol Spec Vol 54:177–210Google Scholar
  7. Fleet ME, MacRae ND (1983) Partition of Ni between olivine and sulfide and its application to Ni–Cu sulfide deposits. Contrib Mineral Petrol 83:75–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fleet ME, MacRae ND (1987) Partition of Ni between olivine and sulfide: the effect of temperature, fO2 and fS2. Contrib Mineral Petrol 95:336–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fleet ME, MacRae ND (1988) Partition of Ni between olivine and sulfide: equilibria with sulfide-oxide liquids. Contrib Mineral Petrol 100:462–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fonseca ROC, Campbell IH, O’Neill HStC, Fitzgerald J (2008) Oxygen solubility and speciation in sulphide-rich mattes. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:2619–2635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gervilla F, Kojonen K (2002) The platinum-group minerals in the upper section of the Keivitsansarvi Ni–Cu–PGE deposit, Northern Finland. Can Mineral 40:377–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grinenko AN, Hanski E, Grinenko VA (2003) Formation conditions of the Kevitsa Cu-Ni deposit: evidence from the S and C isotopes. Geochem Intern 41:181–194Google Scholar
  13. Häkli TA (1971) Silicate nickel and its application to exploration of nickel ores. Bull Geol Soc Finl 43:247–263Google Scholar
  14. Hanski E, Huhma H (2005) Central Lapland greenstone belt. In: Lehtinen M, Nurmi PA, Rämö OT (eds) Precambrian Geology of Finland – Key to the Evolution of the Fennoscandian Shield. Elsevier Science B.V, Amsterdam, pp 139–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hanski E, Huhma H, Suominen IM, Walker RJ (1997) Geochemical and isotopic (Os, Nd) study of the Keivitsa intrusion and its Cu–Ni deposit, northern Finland. In: Papunen H (ed) Mineral deposits: research and exploration—where do they meet? Proceedings of 4th Biennial SGA Meeting, Turku/Finland/11–13 August 1997. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 435–438Google Scholar
  16. Hanski E, Huhma H, Rastas P, Kamenetsky VS (2001) The Palaeoproterozoic komatiite–picrite association of Finnish Lapland. J Petrol 42:855–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ishimaru S, Arai S (2008) Nickel enrichment in mantle olivine beneath a volcanic front. Contrib Mineral Petrol 156:119–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keays RR (1995) The role of dunite and picritic magmatism and S-saturation in the formation of the ore deposits. Lithos 34:1–18Google Scholar
  19. Kennedy AK, Lofgren GE, Wasserburg GJ (1993) An experimental study of trace element partitioning between olivine, orthopyroxene, and melt in chondrules: equilibrium values and kinetic effects. Earth Planet Sci Lett 115:177–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kerr A, Leitch AM (2005) Self-destructive sulfide segregation systems and the formation of high-grade magmatic ore deposits. Econ Geol 100:311–332Google Scholar
  21. Li C, Ripley EM (2010) The relative effects of composition and temperature on olivine-liquid Ni partitioning: statistical deconvolution and implications for petrologic modeling. Chem Geol 275:99–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Li C, Ripley EM, Naldrett AJ (2003) Compositional variations of olivine and sulfur isotopes in the Norilsk and Talnakh intrusions, Siberia: implications for ore forming processes in dynamic magma conduits. Econ Geol 98:69–86Google Scholar
  23. Li C, Xu ZH, de Waal SA, Ripley EM, Maier WD (2004) Compositional variations of olivine from the Jinchuan Ni–Cu sulfide deposit, western China: implications for ore genesis. Mineral Depos 39:159–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lindstrom DJ, Weill DF (1978) Partitioning of transition-metals between diopside and coexisting silicate liquids. 1. Nickel, cobalt, and manganese. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42:817–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Loukola-Ruskeeniemi K, Heino T (1996) Geochemistry and genesis of the black shale-hosted Ni–Cu–Zn deposit at Talvivaara, Finland. Econ Geol 91:80–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maier WD, Eales HV (1994) Facies model for interval between UG2 and Merensky reef, Western Bushveld complex, South Africa. Trans Inst Min Met, Sect B Appl Earth Sci 103:B22–B30Google Scholar
  27. Maier WD, Groves DI (2011) Temporal and spatial controls on the formation of magmatic PGE and Ni–Cu deposits. Mineral Depos 46:841–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mao J, Lehman B, Du A, Zhang G, Ma D, Wang Y, Zeng M, Kerrich R (2002) Re-Os dating of polymetallic Ni–Mo-PGE-Au mineralization in Lower Cambrian black shales of South China and its geological significance. Econ Geol 97:1037–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moilanen M (2011) Lomalampi komatiite-related platinum deposit in Sodankylä. MSc thesis, University of OuluGoogle Scholar
  30. Mutanen A (1997) Geology and ore petrology of the Akanvaara and Koitelainen mafic layered intrusions and the Keivitsa-Satovaaa layered complex, northern Finland. Bull Geol Surv Finl 395Google Scholar
  31. Mutanen T, Huhma H (2001) U-Pb geochronology of the Koitelainen, Akanvaara and Keivitsa mafic layered intrusions and related rocks. In: Vaasjoki M (ed), Radiometric age determinations from Finnish Lapland and their bearing on the timing of Precambrian volcano-sedimentary sequences. Geol Surv Finl, Spec Pap 33: 229–246Google Scholar
  32. Naldrett AJ (2004) Magmatic sulfide deposits: geology, geochemistry and exploration. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nickel EH, Ross JR, Thornber MR (1974) The supergene alteration of pyrrhotite–pentlandite ore at Kambalda, Western Australia. Econ Geol 69:93–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nickel EH, Allchurch PD, Mason MG, Rutland RWR (1977) Supergene alteration at the Perseverance nickel deposit, Agnew, Western Australia. Econ Geol 72:184–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Penttinen U, Palosaari V, Siura T (1977) Selective dissolution and determination of sulphide in nickel ores by the bromine-methanol method. Bull Geol Soc Finl 49:79–84Google Scholar
  36. Pfeiffer TH, Stribrny B, Urban H, Banaszak A (1997) PGE, gold and silver distribution in selected profiles of the Polish Kupferschiefer. In: Papunen H (ed) Mineral deposits: research and exploration—where do they meet? Proceedings of 4th Biennal SGA meeting, Turku, Finland. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 95–99Google Scholar
  37. Ripley EM, Park YR, Lambert DD, Frick LR (2001) Re–Os isotopic variations in carbonaceous pelites hosting the Duluth Complex: implications for metamorphic and metasomatic processes associated with mafic magma chambers. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 65:2965–2978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sobolev AV, Hofmann AW, Kuzmin DV et al (2007) The amount of recycled crust in sources of mantle-derived melts. Science 316:412–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stosch HG (1981) Sc, Cr, Co and Ni partitioning between minerals from spinel peridotite xenoliths. Contrib Mineral Petrol 78:166–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tyrväinen A (1983) Pre-Quaternary rocks of the Sodankylä and Sattanen map-sheet sreas, sheet 3713 and 3714. Geol Surv Finl, Espoo (in Finnish with English summary)Google Scholar
  41. Walker RJ, Morgan JW, Hanski EJ, Smol’kin VF (1997) Re-Os systematics of early Proterozoic ferropicrites, Pechenga Complex, Russia: evidence for ancient 187Os enriched plumes. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 61:3145–3160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang CY, Zhou MF, Qi L (2010) Origin of extremely PGE-rich mafic magma system: an example from the Jinbaoshan ultramafic sill, Emeishan large igneous province, SW China. Lithos 119:147–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheng-Hong Yang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wolfgang D. Maier
    • 1
  • Eero J. Hanski
    • 1
  • Markku Lappalainen
    • 2
  • Frank Santaguida
    • 2
  • Sanna Määttä
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.First Quantum Minerals LtdSodankyläFinland

Personalised recommendations