- © 2006 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
The Ta-Nb-Zr-REE-rich McKeel Lake alkali granite pegmatite-aplite dike swarm is hosted within the late Silurian multiphase alkali granite intrusion (Welsford) near Browns Flats in southwestern New Brunswick. A steep easterly dipping series of pegmatite-aplite dikes trending 170° can be traced 150 m along strike; they are up to 40 cm wide, closely spaced (10–20 cm apart), and interconnected by narrow branching dikelets that generally trend perpendicular to the overall strike direction. The Welsford intrusion has mantle A-type affinities characterized by enrichment of Zr, Ta, Nb, Th, and rare earth elements (REE). Two separate sets of dikes have been identified: (1) an unmineralized fine-grained porphyry, which occurs at depth and seems to be the youngest intrusive phase; and (2) a mineralized pegmatite-aplite dike swarm (419 ± 20 Ma) that crops out at surface. The mineralized pegmatite-aplite dikes likely represent a late magmatic, highly fractionated phase of the Welsford intrusion. XRF and INAA data indicate that the Welsford intrusions and related pegmatite-aplite dikes show elevated levels of Ta (74–220 ppm), Nb (750–3,040 ppm), Zr (1,450–36,000 ppm), Y (540–3,070 ppm), Th (170–870 ppm), U (60–250 ppm), Ce (430–1,950 ppm) and Yb (110–290 ppm). Electron microprobe analysis of two samples identified Ta-Nb- and REE-rich phases: euxenite, fergusonite, aeschynite, (Y)-aeschynite, and a REE carbonate.