- © 2001 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
The NICO and Sue-Dianne deposits are being explored and delineated by Fortune Minerals Limited in the Mazenod Lake District of the Northwest Territories, using an Olympic Dam model. The deposits were discovered in the south part of the Great Bear magmatic zone (GBMZ) within the Proterozoic, Bear Structural Province of the Canadian Shield. They are the only known significant Canadian examples of Proterozoic iron oxide-hosted polymetallic deposits. Worldwide, this class includes such deposits as Olympic Dam and Ernest Henry in Australia, Kiruna-Aitik in Sweden, and Salobo in Brazil. Their considerable size, up to 2 billion tonnes, and polymetallic ore assemblages make them highly attractive targets for exploration. Common characteristics of this class include their Early to Middle Proterozoic cratonic settings with extensional rifting evolving from collisional tectonics. Deposits typically occur along major structural lineaments within the aureoles of a distinctive suite of anorogenic potassium-rich “A-type” granite intrusions. Although hosted by diverse lithologies, deposits of this class are characterized by a number of other diagnostic regional- and deposit-scale features, which may be recognized in reconnaissance- and property-scale geological and geophysical surveys.
The southern GBMZ in Canada has several characteristics (age, tectonic setting, geology and geophysical attributes) similar to those of the Olympic Dam deposit and its other significant global analogues. Airborne and ground geophysical surveys carried out in the GBMZ identified coincident potassium, uranium, magnetic, resistivity, chargeability, and gravity anomalies centered over the NICO deposit. The nearby Sue-Dianne deposit is characterized by coincident uranium, potassium, magnetic, resistivity and chargeability anomalies. Both deposits occur within a regional, northwest-striking, arcuate trend of volcanic and sedimentary rocks characterized by significant positive Bouguer-gravity and magnetic responses and are believed to represent a major basement discontinuity. The NICO anomalies are at the intersection of this regional trend with a major transverse fault through Lou Lake. Regional and local geophysical data indicate the presence of significant concentrations of iron oxide within a broad area of intense potassium metasomatism. Geological mapping identified cobalt, gold, bismuth, and copper mineralization in biotite-magnetite-amphibole-sulfide-rich ironstone and schist. This mineralization is localized within altered wackes of the Snare Group, which are unconformably overlain by potassium feldspar- (±hematite ±magnetite) altered rhyolite of the Faber Group. The Sue-Dianne deposit is a hematite-magnetite-Fe-silicate-cemented diatreme complex enriched in copper, silver, gold, and uranium within a broad zone of potassium, iron, quartz, and epidote metasomatism. The diatreme is located at the intersection of two major faults at the north end of the basement discontinuity and is hosted in rhyodacite ignimbrite marginal to the Faber Lake rapakivi-granite pluton. At both deposits, diatreme- and maar-facies iron oxide-cemented breccia straddle the regional metasedimentary-volcanic unconformity, suggesting that mineralization formed in a near-surface environment synchronous with the onset of volcanism.