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Platinum mineralization and geochemistry of the Matysken zoned Ural-Alaskan type complex and related placer (Far East Russia)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 22:25 authored by Kutyrev, AV, Sidorov, EG, Vadim KamenetskyVadim Kamenetsky, Chubarov, VM, Chayka, Ivan F, Abersteiner, A

Ural-Alaskan type complexes are the sources for unique placer platinum deposits and contain platinum-group minerals (PGM) within lodes. Such complexes occur along modern and ancient convergent tectonic margins and are comprised of dunite, wehrlite, clinopyroxenite and gabbro, which gradually interchange towards the marginal parts of the complex. In-situ PGM are largely restricted to chromitites, which are comprised of small veinlets and schlieren of chromian spinel in the dunite unit. PGM mineralization in chromitites can be extremely rich; however, their distribution is very sporadic, without any apparent regularity. Moreover, the role of accessory chromian spinel and post-magmatic overprinting of platinum group element (PGE) concentrations is poorly defined. Detailed studies of PGM assemblages, including those in chromitites, serpentine veinlets in dunites, and wehrlites, combined with PGE geochemistry could provide insights into the distribution and processes responsible for PGE accumulation.

The Matysken complex in the Koryak Highlands (Far East Russia) is comprised of dunite, wehrlite, clinopyroxenite and gabbro units, and has a classic zoned structure, rendering it an excellent example of an Ural-Alaskan type complex, ideal for this case study. This locality contains mm-scale isoferroplatinum (Pt3Fe) nuggets that cement chromitites and occur as µm-scale euhedral inclusions in chromian spinel. Placer PGM assemblages in the nearby Matysken River consist of exactly the same assemblages of minerals that are found in dunites and chromitites but with larger compositional scatter, reflecting a complex history of alluvium accumulation, which was sourced from different eroded parts of the complex. Detailed textural investigations discovered a diverse array of hydrous silicate–related mineralization, including euhedral isoferroplatinum grains in chlorite matrix, isoferroplatinum–amphibole intergrowths, and a wide range of PGE, Fe and Cu alloys, sulfarsenides and antimonides, which formed in serpentine veinlets together with awaruite (Ni3Fe) and base metal sulfides. This provides further evidence that isoferroplatinum, which is widely accepted to be a magmatic mineral, may form under a wide range of conditions, including during serpentinization.

Dunites have fractioned primitive mantle-normalized PGE patterns, typical of Ural-Alaskan type complexes, with strong enrichments in Pt and depletions in Ir, Ru and Pd. PGE, with an exception of Pd, are quite uniformly distributed in dunite containing accessory chromian spinel, with good correlations between PGE and Cr. This correlation, together with data from previous studies, allowed us to calculate the concentration of Pt in accessory chromian spinel (probably hosted as minute PGM inclusions), which is of the same grade as for chromitites (ppm levels). This suggests that the formation of chromitites does not concentrate PGE over Cr, but only assembles them into larger aggregates, causing the observed unevenness in the PGM distribution.


Publication title

Ore Geology Reviews



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School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier Science Bv

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Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Precious (noble) metal ore exploration