Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 509–532 | Cite as

Geology, petrography, geochemistry, and genesis of sulfide-rich pods in the Lac des Iles palladium deposits, western Ontario, Canada

  • Charley J. Duran
  • Sarah-Jane Barnes
  • John T. Corkery


The Lac des Iles Pd deposits are known for their Pd-rich sulfide-poor mineralization. However, previously undocumented sulfide-rich pods also occur within the intrusion that hosts the deposits. Given the complex magmatic and hydrothermal history of the mineralization at Lac des Iles, the sulfide-rich pods could have crystallized from magmatic sulfide liquids or precipitated from hydrothermal fluids. Sulfide-rich pods occur throughout the stratigraphy, in all rock types, and along comagmatic shear zones, and contain net-textured to massive sulfides. They can be divided into four main groups based on the variation in mineral assemblages: (1) pyrrhotite–pentlandite ± pyrite–chalcopyrite–magnetite–ilmenite; (2) chalcopyrite ± pyrrhotite–pentlandite–pyrite–magnetite–ilmenite; (3) pyrite ± pentlandite–chalcopyrite–pyrrhotite–magnetite–ilmenite; and (4) magnetite ± ilmenite–pyrrhotite–pentlandite–pyrite–chalcopyrite. Whole rock metal contents and S isotopic compositions do not change with the amount of pyrite present, except for slight enrichments in As and Bi. The presence of an essentially magmatic sulfide mineral assemblage (pyrrhotite–pentlandite ± chalcopyrite) with pentlandite exsolution flames in pyrrhotite in some pods suggests that the pods crystallized from magmatic sulfide liquids. The very low Cu contents of the pods suggests that they are mainly cumulates of monosulfide solid solution (MSS). We propose a model whereby sulfide liquids were concentrated into dilation zones prior to crystallizing cumulus MSS. Intermediate solid solution crystallized from the fractionated liquids at the edges of some pods leaving residual liquids enriched in Pt, Pd, Au, As, Bi, Sb, and Te. These residual liquids are no longer associated with the pods. During subsequent alteration, pyrite replaced MSS/pyrrhotite, but this did not affect the platinum-group element contents of the pods.


Lac des Iles Pd deposits Sulfide-rich pods Platinum-group elements Dilation zones MSS fractionation 



This study was completed by the first author as part of his PhD research project at UQAC. We are grateful to North American Palladium for providing financial support to Sarah-Jane Barnes’ Canada Research Chair in Magmatic Ore Deposits, for allowing access to the mine property and publication of this paper, and for hiring the first author as exploration geologist during three field seasons. We would like also to thank the entire North American Palladium Exploration Team over the years for technical support in the field and with modeling software. Dany Savard and Sadia Mehdi are thanked for their assistance with whole-rock geochemical analyses at LabMaTer, UQAC. This study largely benefited from intellectual inputs from Philippe Pagé and Ed Sawyer of UQAC, Sarah Dare of University of Ottawa, and Lionnel Djon, Arnaud Tchalikian, and Skylar Schmidt of North American Palladium. Finally, Alan Boudreau, David Good, and Michael Lesher are gratefully acknowledged for thorough and insightful revisions that greatly improved our manuscript. Michael Lesher and Georges Beaudoin are also warmly thanked for their editorial handling.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (XLSX 38 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charley J. Duran
    • 1
  • Sarah-Jane Barnes
    • 1
  • John T. Corkery
    • 2
  1. 1.Sciences de la Terre, Université du Québec à ChicoutimiChicoutimiCanada
  2. 2.North American Palladium, Metals exploration divisionThunder BayCanada

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