Downdip development of the Ni‐Cu‐PGE‐bearing mafic to ultramafic uitkomst complex, Mpumalanga province, South Africa

Christoph Gauert, Armin Zeh
The about 2055-Ma-old mafic to ultramafic Uitkomst Complex in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa hosts the low-grade-large-tonnage Ni-Cu-PGE deposit, Nkomati. The complex is regarded to represent a satellite to the Bushveld Complex and a feeder to an eroded magmatic reservoir in the southeast. Aeromagnetic surveys and previous drilling indicated an overall northwestern-downdip extension of the complex, but the question is to what extent and in which expression can the complete intrusion be
more » ... found under cover in the northwest? Answering this, a mineralogical, geochemical and geochronological investigation of a borehole intersection of the whole complex at Little Mamre was carried out, using petrography, XRF, EPMA and LA-ICP-MS U–Pb analyses of zircons for age determination. Although the total thickness of the rock units is larger than to the southeast, emplacement, litho- and mineral chemistry trends, expression of alteration mineralogy and style of sulphide mineralisation are similar. The amount of sulphide mineralisation is on average less than in the southeast. The upper ultramafic unit contains, more frequently, pegmatoidal sections, and the Chromitiferous Harzburgite unit has less massive chromitite layers than the southeastern parts of the complex, whereas the gabbro(-norite) units contain more interstitial liquid with late-stage minerals. The findings confirm that the anvil-shaped intrusion in cross section continues with increased thickness towards northwest at a shallow dip; although approaching the deeper part of the igneous reservoir, mineral compositions are partially more evolved. The overall mineralogical consistency downdip supports a situation of multiple magma replenishment along a flat-lying, northwest–southeast trending conduit, resulting in an evolved cumulus mineral assemblage in the upper part.
doi:10.5445/ir/1000141715 fatcat:xm442tio7rdkpdtnt2wjdycnyi