Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 51, Issue 7, pp 853–872 | Cite as

Platinum-group element concentrations in pyrite from the Main Sulfide Zone of the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe

  • R. Piña
  • F. Gervilla
  • S.-J. Barnes
  • T. Oberthür
  • R. Lunar
Article

Abstract

The Main Sulfide Zone (MSZ) of the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe hosts the world’s second largest resource of platinum-group elements (PGE) after the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. The sulfide assemblage of the MSZ comprises pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite, and minor pyrite. Recently, several studies have observed in a number of Ni-Cu-PGE ore deposits that pyrite may host significant amounts of PGE, particularly Pt and Rh. In this study, we have determined PGE and other trace element contents in pyrite from the Hartley, Ngezi, Unki, and Mimosa mines of the Great Dyke by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Based on the textures and PGE contents, two types of pyrite can be differentiated. Py1 occurs as individual euhedral or subhedral grains or clusters of crystals mostly within chalcopyrite and pentlandite, in some cases in the form of symplectitic intergrowths, and is PGE rich (up to 99 ppm Pt and 61 ppm Rh; 1.7 to 47.1 ppm Ru, 0.1 to 7.8 ppm Os, and 1.2 to 20.2 ppm Ir). Py2 occurs as small individual euhedral or subhedral crystals within pyrrhotite, pentlandite, and less frequently within chalcopyrite and silicates and has low PGE contents (<0.11 ppm Pt, <0.34 ppm Rh, <2.5 ppm Ru, <0.37 ppm Ir, and <0.40 ppm Os). Py1 contains higher Os, Ir, Ru, Rh, and Pt contents than the associated pyrrhotite, pentlandite, and chalcopyrite, whereas Py2 has similar PGE contents as coexisting pyrrhotite and pentlandite. Based on the textural relationships, two different origins are attributed for each pyrite type. Py1 intergrowth with pentlandite and chalcopyrite is inferred to have formed by late, low temperature (<300 °C) decomposition of residual Ni-rich monosulfide solid solution, whereas Py2 is suggested to have formed by replacement of pyrrhotite and pentlandite caused by late magmatic/hydrothermal fluids.

Keywords

Pyrite Base metal sulfides PGE LA-ICP-MS Main sulfide zone Great Dyke Zimbabwe 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Piña
    • 1
  • F. Gervilla
    • 2
  • S.-J. Barnes
    • 3
  • T. Oberthür
    • 4
  • R. Lunar
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Dpto. Cristalografía y Mineralogía, Fac. Ciencias GeológicasUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Dpto. Mineralogía y Petrología and Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra, Fac. CienciasUniversidad de Granada-CSICGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Sciences de la TerreUniversité du Québec à ChicoutimiChicoutimiCanada
  4. 4.German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)HannoverGermany
  5. 5.Instituto de Geociencias IGEO (UCM-CSIC)MadridSpain

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