VANCOUVER — The greenstone belt that hosts the nickel-copper-platinum group metal (PGM) and chromite deposits in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire camp, 540 km northeast of Thunder Bay, is unique compared to other regions in Canada, says Noront Resources’ (TSXV: NOT) President and CEO Alan Coutts.
“In our case we have a typical, greenstone belt, but we also have this very large, layered ultramafic intrusion complex and iron formations abutting it. So it had all the right things going on to create the diversity of deposits we see there today,” he tells The Northern Miner during a phone interview.
Coutts says the similar belts elsewhere in Ontario and Quebec are less known for their magmatic copper-nickel, PGM and chromium deposits, which include examples such as Balmoral Resources’ (TSX: BAR; US-OTC: BALMF) Grasset copper-cobalt-PGM deposit in northern Quebec, the Raglan nickel-copper-PGM belt in northernmost Quebec, and some in Ontario’s Timmins district.
He explains that the age of the greenstone belts plays a role in the genesis of the magmatic-style deposits. During the Archean eon, 4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, temperatures on earth were still hot enough to drive deep-seated, high-magnesium melts, otherwise known as “ultramafics,” into higher levels of the earth’s crust without cooling rapidly.
The melts, which contain a high amount of dissolved metals, would devour sulfur-rich country rocks during their ascent. Once sulfur is saturated in the melt, it separates out of the magma — much like oil does in water — and absorbs the dissolved metals.
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