Mineralogy and Geology of the Serpentinite Associated Hitura Ni-Cu Deposit, Finland: Implications for Benefication

Penttila V,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1996
The Paleoproterozoic Hitura Ni-Cu deposit in western Finland is in an ultramafic igneous complex composed of two subvertical plug-shaped bodies embedded in intensely migmatised felsic gneisses. The ultramafic complex is not far from a north-south trending graphitic and sulphidic gneiss zone interpreted to be a primary sulphide-graphite unit in the metasedimentary sequence. The sulphide accumulation exists as a zone parallel to the contact of the northern ultramafic body. The ultramafic rock types, now mainly serpentinites, have primarily been olivine adcumulates in the core grading to olivine orthocumulates and pyroxenites towards the margins. Coarse-grained felsic pegmatite veins injected serpentinite where they now exhibit prominent zoned alteration rims of chlorite, antophyllite and talc. The serpentinite core of the body was primarily an olivine adcumulate derived from a tholeiitic or high-Mg basalt parental magma with about 11 wt % MgO. Metamorphism and alteration have totally changed the igneous mineral compositions and the rock types are serpentinites (from olivine adcumulates), ambhibole-bearing serpentinites and amphibole-chlorite rocks (from pyroxenites). As the result of CO2 alteration talc is an accessory mineral throughout the serpentinite. Like silicates, also sulphide minerals are altered. In the core of the body the low-grade sulphide dissemination still reveals primary igneous interstitial forms. The core sulphides are now mackinawite, pentlandite and valleriite instead of primary igneous pyrrhotite and pentlandite derived from Mss. At the marginal zone the heavy dissemination and net-textured sulphides display pyrrhotite-pentlandite-magnetite intergrowths with magnetite films along cleavage of sulphides, mackinawite in pentlandite and exsolution textures of different low-temperature pyrrhotite phases as the result of alteration processes. Mechanically weak rocks, complicated structures and textures of the ore, magnetite and mackinawite intergrowths in pentlandite and readily-floating MgO silicates cause problems in exploitation of the deposit. Solution to problems come from selective stoping, three-step classification in grinding, froth-washing technique and on-line process control based on ore type determination from process data using an expert System
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