Platinum-group element distribution in base-metal sulfides of the UG2 chromitite, Bushveld Complex, South Africa—a reconnaissance study

Osbahr I, Oberthuer T, Klemd R, Josties A (2014)


Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2014

Journal

Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)

Book Volume: 49

Pages Range: 655-665

DOI: 10.1007/s00126-014-0538-z

Abstract

Two drill cores of the UG2 chromitite from the eastern and western Bushveld Complex were studied by whole-rock analysis, ore microscopy, SEM/Mineral Liberation Analysis (MLA), and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analysis. The top and base of the UG2 main seam have the highest bulk-rock Pd and Pt concentrations. Sulfides mostly occur as aggregates of pentlandite, chalcopyrite, and rare pyrrhotite and pyrite or as individual grains associated mostly with chromite grains. In situ LA-ICP-MS analyses reveal that pentlandite carries distinctly elevated platinum-group element (PGE) contents. In contrast, pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite contain very low PGE concentrations. Pentlandite shows average maximum values of 350-1,000 ppm Pd, 200 ppm Rh, 130-175 ppm Ru, 20 ppm Os, and 150 ppm Ir, and is the principal host of Pd and Rh in the studied ores of the UG2. Mass balance calculations were conducted for samples representing the UG2 main seam of the drill core DT46, eastern Bushveld. Pentlandite consistently hosts elevated contents of the whole-rock Pd (up to 55 %) and Rh (up to 46 %), and erratic contents of Os (up to 50 %), Ir (2 to 17 %), and Ru (1-39 %). Platinum-group mineral (PGM) investigations support these mass balance results; most of the PGM are Pt-dominant such as braggite/cooperite and Pt-Fe alloys or laurite (carrying elevated concentrations of Os and Ir). Palladium and Rh-bearing PGM are rare. Both PGE concentrations and their distribution in base-metal sulfides (BMS) in the UG2 largely resemble that of the Merensky Reef, as most of the Pd and Rh are incorporated in pentlandite, whereas pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, and pyrite are almost devoid of PGE. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Authors with CRIS profile

Involved external institutions

How to cite

APA:

Osbahr, I., Oberthuer, T., Klemd, R., & Josties, A. (2014). Platinum-group element distribution in base-metal sulfides of the UG2 chromitite, Bushveld Complex, South Africa—a reconnaissance study. Mineralium Deposita, 49, 655-665. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00126-014-0538-z

MLA:

Osbahr, Inga, et al. "Platinum-group element distribution in base-metal sulfides of the UG2 chromitite, Bushveld Complex, South Africa—a reconnaissance study." Mineralium Deposita 49 (2014): 655-665.

BibTeX: Download