A Comparative Study of Rock, Soil and Plant Chemistry in Relation to Nickel Mineralization in the Pioneer Area, Wester Australia

Both R A, ; Smith F A,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1973
The application of biogeochemical methods in mineral exploration in the semi-arid to and environment of Western Australia was investiga- ted in an area near Norseman. The reliability of these methods was evaluated by comparing trace element characteristics of rock, soil and plants in the vicinity of the Pioneer BB pros- pect. The prospect is located in the south- western part of the Pioneer Dome, where granite gneiss core is surrounded by a 'greenstone' sequence of ultrabasic, basic and sedimentary rocks. Nickel-iron sulphide mineralization occurs discontinuously along one of the basic- ultrabasic contacts. Analyses of unweathered and partly weath- ered rock from diamond drill cores show the ultrabasic rock to be highly variable with re- spect to nickel, copper, cobalt, zinc and manga- nese. Samples of weathered bedrock and over- lying soil were analysed both for total trace element contents and for the trace elements associated with secondary iron and manganese oxides. Approximately 30 per cent of the total nickel content of the weathered basic rock is associated with secondary iron and manganese oxides, compared to approximately 15 per cent in the weathered ultrabasic rock. The soil is partly transported but has a residual component sufficient to provide a reli- able indication of the underlying rock chemistry, although the trace element content of the soil is less variable than that of the rock. Total
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