Special Issue "Platinum-Group Minerals: New Results and Advances in PGE Mineralogy in Various Ni-Cu-Cr-PGE Ore Systems"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Geochemistry and Geochronology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Andrei Y. Barkov

Research Laboratory of Industrial and Ore Mineralogy, Cherepovets State University, Cherepovets, Russian Federation
Website | E-Mail
Interests: platinum-group minerals; ore minerals; Ni-Cu-Cr-PGE mineralization; mafic-ultramafic complexes; layered intrusions; ore-forming processes
Guest Editor
Dr. Federica Zaccarini

Department of Applied Geosciences and Geophysics, University of Leoben, Peter Tunner str. 5, A-8700 Leoben, Austria
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: mineralogy; electron microprobe analyses; ultramafic rocks; ore minerals; geochemistry; ophiolite

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We aim to publish a Special Issue of the journal that presents a set of themed articles on “New Results and Advances in PGE Mineralogy in Various Ni-Cu-Cr-PGE Ore Systems”. The main focus will be on platinum-group minerals (PGM) and phases rich in the platinum-group elements (PGE). Our Special Issue will cover a broad range of relevant topics of interest, such as:

  1. PGE mineralogy in Ni-Cu-PGE-Cr ore systems associated with layered intrusions;
  2. New data on PGM in ophiolite complexes;
  3. Associations of PGM in Alaskan-Uralian-type complexes;
  4. PGE minerals and ore-forming processes in PGE-bearing zones in various complexes;
  5. Atypical PGE deposits: their mineralogy and genesis;
  6. Platinum-group minerals in placers and their lode sources;
  7. New species or varieties of PGM and unusual PGE-rich phases or associations.

Thank you and we look forward to receiving your contributions.

The first round of submission deadline was 30 November 2018.

Dr. Andrei Y. Barkov
Dr. Federica Zaccarini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Platiniferous Tetra-Auricupride: A Case Study from the Bolshoy Khailyk Placer Deposit, Western Sayans, Russia
Minerals 2019, 9(3), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9030160
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
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Abstract
Tetra-auricupride, ideally AuCu, represents the only species showing the coexistence of Au with an elevated level of Pt, as in the case of a detrital grain studied structurally for the first time, from an ophiolite-associated placer at Bolshoy Khailyk, western Sayans, Russia. We [...] Read more.
Tetra-auricupride, ideally AuCu, represents the only species showing the coexistence of Au with an elevated level of Pt, as in the case of a detrital grain studied structurally for the first time, from an ophiolite-associated placer at Bolshoy Khailyk, western Sayans, Russia. We infer that tetra-auricupride can incorporate as much as ~30 mol. % of a “PtCu” component, apparently without significant modification of the unit cell. The unit-cell parameters of platiniferous tetra-auricupride are: a 2.790(1) Å, c 3.641(4) Å, with c/a = 1.305, which are close to those reported for ordered AuCu(I) in the system Au–Cu, and close also to the cell parameters of tetraferroplatinum (PtFe), which both appear to crystallize in the same space group, P4/mmm. These intermetallic compounds and natural alloys are thus isostructural. The closeness of their structures presumably allows Pt to replace Au atoms so readily. The high extent of Cu + Au enrichment is considered to be a reflection of geochemical evolution and buildup in levels of the incompatible Cu and Au with subordinate Pt in a remaining volume of melt at low levels of fO2 and fS2 in the system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Platinum-Group Minerals of Pt-Placer Deposits Associated with the Svetloborsky Ural-Alaskan Type Massif, Middle Urals, Russia
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020077
Received: 24 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract
The alteration of platinum group minerals (PGM) of eluval, proximal, and distal placers associated with the Ural-Alaskan type clinopyroxenite-dunite massifs were studied. The Isovsko-Turinskaya placer system is unique regarding its size, and was chosen as research object as it is PGM-bearing for more [...] Read more.
The alteration of platinum group minerals (PGM) of eluval, proximal, and distal placers associated with the Ural-Alaskan type clinopyroxenite-dunite massifs were studied. The Isovsko-Turinskaya placer system is unique regarding its size, and was chosen as research object as it is PGM-bearing for more than 70 km from its lode source, the Ural-Alaskan type Svetloborsky massif, Middle Urals. Lode chromite-platinum ore zones located in the Southern part of the dunite “core” of the Svetloborsky massif are considered as the PGM lode source. For the studies, PGM concentrates were prepared from the heavy concentrates which were sampled at different distances from the lode source. Eluvial placers are situated directly above the ore zones, and the PGM transport distance does not exceed 10 m. Travyanistyi proximal placer is considered as an example of alluvial ravine placer with the PGM transport distance from 0.5 to 2.5 km. The Glubokinskoe distal placer located in the vicinity of the Is settlement are chosen as the object with the longest PGM transport distance (30–35 km from the lode source). Pt-Fe alloys, and in particular, isoferroplatinum prevail in the lode ores and placers with different PGM transport distance. In some cases, isoferroplatinum is substituted by tetraferroplatinum and tulameenite in the grain marginal parts. Os-Ir-(Ru) alloys, erlichmanite, laurite, kashinite, bowieite, and Ir-Rh thiospinels are found as inclusions in Pt-Fe minerals. As a result of the study, it was found that the greatest contribution to the formation of the placer objects is made by the erosion of chromite-platinum mineralized zones in dunites. At a distance of more than 10 km, the degree of PGM mechanical attrition becomes significant, and the morphological features, characteristic of lode platinum, are practically not preserved. One of the signs of the significant PGM transport distance in the placers is the absence of rims composed of the tetraferroplatinum group minerals around primary Pt-Fez alloys. The sie of the nuggets decreases with the increasing transport distance. The composition of isoferroplatinum from the placers and lode chromite-platinum ore zones are geochemically similar. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
PGE-Enrichment in Magnetite-Bearing Olivine Gabbro: New Observations from the Midcontinent Rift-Related Echo Lake Intrusion in Northern Michigan, USA
Minerals 2019, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9010021
Received: 25 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Abstract
The Echo Lake intrusion in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan, USA, was formed during the 1.1 Ga Midcontinent Rift event in North America. Troctolite is the predominant rock unit in the intrusion, with interlayered bands of peridotite, mafic pegmatitic rock, olivine gabbro, [...] Read more.
The Echo Lake intrusion in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan, USA, was formed during the 1.1 Ga Midcontinent Rift event in North America. Troctolite is the predominant rock unit in the intrusion, with interlayered bands of peridotite, mafic pegmatitic rock, olivine gabbro, magnetite-bearing gabbro, and anorthosite. Exploratory drilling has revealed a platinum group element (PGE)-enriched zone within a 45 m thick magnetite-ilmenite-bearing olivine gabbro unit with grades up to 1.2 g/t Pt + Pd and 0.3 wt. % Cu. Fine, disseminated grains of sulfide minerals such as pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite occur in the mineralized interval. Formation of Cu-PGE-rich sulfide minerals might have been caused by sulfide melt saturation in a crystallizing magma, which was triggered by a sudden decrease in fO2 upon the crystallization and separation of titaniferous magnetite. This PGE-enriched zone is comparable to other well-known reef-like PGE deposits, such as the Sonju Lake deposit in northern Minnesota. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Platinum-Group Mineral Occurrences and Platinum-Group Elemental Geochemistry of the Xiadong Alaskan-Type Complex in the Southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt
Minerals 2018, 8(11), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8110494
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
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Abstract
Alaskan-type complexes commonly contain primary platinum-group element (PGE) alloys and lack base-metal sulfides in their dunite and chromite-bearing rocks. They could therefore host PGE deposits with rare sulfide mineralization. A detailed scanning electron microscope investigation on dunites from the Xiadong Alaskan-type complex in [...] Read more.
Alaskan-type complexes commonly contain primary platinum-group element (PGE) alloys and lack base-metal sulfides in their dunite and chromite-bearing rocks. They could therefore host PGE deposits with rare sulfide mineralization. A detailed scanning electron microscope investigation on dunites from the Xiadong Alaskan-type complex in the southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt revealed: various occurrences of platinum-group minerals (PGMs) that are dominated by inclusions in chromite grains containing abundant Ru, Os, S and a small amount of Pd and Te, indicating that they mainly formed prior to or simultaneously with the crystallization of the host minerals; A few Os–Ir–Rurich phases with iridium/platinum-group element (IPGE) alloy, anduoite (Ru,Ir,Ni)(As,S)2−x and irarsite (IrAsS) were observed in chromite fractures, and as laurite (RuS2) in clinopyroxene, which was likely related to late-stage hydrothermal alteration. The rocks in the Xiadong complex display large PGE variations with ∑PGE of 0.38–112 ppb. The dunite has the highest PGE concentrations (8.69–112 ppb), which is consistent with the presence of PGMs. Hornblende clinopyroxenite, hornblendite and hornblende gabbro were all depleted in PGEs, indicating that PGMs were likely already present at an early phase of magma and were mostly collected afterward in dunites during magma differentiation. Compared with the regional mafic–ultramafic intrusions in Eastern Tianshan, the Xiadong complex show overall higher average PGE concentration. This is consistent with the positive PGE anomalies revealed by regional geochemical surveys. The Xiadong complex, therefore, has potential for PGE exploration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Origin of Platinum Group Minerals (PGM) Inclusions in Chromite Deposits of the Urals
Minerals 2018, 8(9), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8090379
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
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Abstract
This paper reviews a database of about 1500 published and 1000 unpublished microprobe analyses of platinum-group minerals (PGM) from chromite deposits associated with ophiolites and Alaskan-type complexes of the Urals. Composition, texture, and paragenesis of unaltered PGM enclosed in fresh chromitite of the [...] Read more.
This paper reviews a database of about 1500 published and 1000 unpublished microprobe analyses of platinum-group minerals (PGM) from chromite deposits associated with ophiolites and Alaskan-type complexes of the Urals. Composition, texture, and paragenesis of unaltered PGM enclosed in fresh chromitite of the ophiolites indicate that the PGM formed by a sequence of crystallization events before, during, and probably after primary chromite precipitation. The most important controlling factors are sulfur fugacity and temperature. Laurite and Os–Ir–Ru alloys are pristine liquidus phases crystallized at high temperature and low sulfur fugacity: they were trapped in the chromite as solid particles. Oxygen thermobarometry supports that several chromitites underwent compositional equilibration down to 700 °C involving increase of the Fe3/Fe2 ratio. These chromitites contain a great number of PGM including—besides laurite and alloys—erlichmanite, Ir–Ni–sulfides, and Ir–Ru sulfarsenides formed by increasing sulfur fugacity. Correlation with chromite composition suggests that the latest stage of PGM crystallization might have occurred in the subsolidus. If platinum-group elements (PGE) were still present in solid chromite as dispersed atomic clusters, they could easily convert into discrete PGM inclusions splitting off the chromite during its re-crystallization under slow cooling-rate. The presence of primary PGM inclusions in fresh chromitite of the Alaskan-type complexes is restricted to ore bodies crystallized in equilibrium with the host dunite. The predominance of Pt–Fe alloys over sulfides is a strong indication for low sulfur fugacity, thereby early crystallization of laurite is observed only in one deposit. In most cases, Pt–Fe alloys crystallized and were trapped in chromite between 1300 and 1050 °C. On-cooling equilibration to ~900 °C may produce lamellar unmixing of different Pt–Fe phases and osmium. Precipitation of the Pt–Fe alloys locally is followed by an increase of sulfur fugacity leading to crystallize erlichmanite and Ir–Rh–Ni–Cu sulfides, occurring as epitaxic overgrowth on the alloy. There is evidence that the system moved quickly into the stabilization field of Pt–Fe alloys by an increase of the oxygen fugacity marked by an increase of the magnetite component in the chromite. In summary, the data support that most of the primary PGM inclusions in the chromitites of the Urals formed in situ, as part of the chromite precipitation event. However, in certain ophiolitic chromitites undergoing annealing conditions, there is evidence for subsolidus crystallization of discrete PGM from PGE atomic-clusters occurring in the chromite. This mechanism of formation does not require a true solid solution of PGE in the chromite structure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thalhammerite, Pd9Ag2Bi2S4, a New Mineral from the Talnakh and Oktyabrsk Deposits, Noril’sk Region, Russia
Minerals 2018, 8(8), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8080339
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
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Abstract
Thalhammerite, Pd9Ag2Bi2S4, is a new sulphide discovered in galena-pyrite-chalcopyrite and millerite-bornite-chalcopyrite vein-disseminated ores from the Komsomolsky mine of the Talnakh and Oktyabrsk deposits, Noril’sk region, Russia. It forms tiny inclusions (from a few μm up [...] Read more.
Thalhammerite, Pd9Ag2Bi2S4, is a new sulphide discovered in galena-pyrite-chalcopyrite and millerite-bornite-chalcopyrite vein-disseminated ores from the Komsomolsky mine of the Talnakh and Oktyabrsk deposits, Noril’sk region, Russia. It forms tiny inclusions (from a few μm up to about 40–50 μm) intergrown in galena, chalcopyrite, and also in bornite. Thalhammerite is brittle and has a metallic lustre. In plane-polarized light, thalhammerite is light yellow with weak bireflectance, weak pleochroism, in shades of slightly yellowish brown and weak anisotropy; it exhibits no internal reflections. Reflectance values of thalhammerite in air (R1, R2 in %) are: 41.9/43.0 at 470 nm, 43.9/45.1 at 546 nm, 44.9/46.1 at 589 nm, and 46.3/47.5 at 650 nm. Three spot analyses of thalhammerite give an average composition: Pd 52.61, Bi 22.21, Pb 3.92, Ag 14.37, S 7.69, and Se 0.10, total 100.90 wt %, corresponding to the empirical formula Pd8.46Ag2.28(Bi1.82Pb0.32)Σ2.14(S4.10Se0.02)Σ4.12 based on 17 atoms; the average of five analyses on synthetic thalhammerite is: Pd 55.10, Bi 24.99, Ag 12.75, and S 7.46, total 100.30 wt %, corresponding to Pd8.91Ag2.03Bi2.06S4.00. The density, calculated on the basis of the empirical formula, is 9.72 g/cm3. The mineral is tetragonal, space group I4/mmm, with a 8.0266(2), c 9.1531(2) Å, V 589.70(2) Å3 and Z = 2. The crystal structure was solved and refined from the single-crystal X-ray-diffraction data of synthetic Pd9Ag2Bi2S4. Thalhammerite has no exact structural analogues known in the mineral system; chemically, it is close to coldwellite (Pd3Ag2S) and kravtsovite (PdAg2S). The strongest lines in the X-ray powder diffraction pattern of synthetic thalhammerite [d in Å (I) (hkl)] are: 3.3428(24)(211), 2.8393(46)(220), 2.5685(21)(301), 2.4122(100)(222), 2.3245(61)(123), 2.2873(48)(004), 2.2201(29)(132), 2.0072(40)(400), 1.7481(23)(332), and 1.5085(30)(404). The mineral honours Associate Professor Oskar Thalhammer of the University of Leoben, Austria. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogy of Platinum-Group Elements and Gold in the Ophiolite-Related Placer of the River Bolshoy Khailyk, Western Sayans, Russia
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060247
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
We describe assemblages of platinum-group minerals (PGM) and associated PGE–Au phases found in alluvium along the River Bolshoy Khailyk, in the western Sayans, Russia. The river drains the Aktovrakskiy ophiolitic complex, part of the Kurtushibinskiy belt, as does the Zolotaya River ~15 km [...] Read more.
We describe assemblages of platinum-group minerals (PGM) and associated PGE–Au phases found in alluvium along the River Bolshoy Khailyk, in the western Sayans, Russia. The river drains the Aktovrakskiy ophiolitic complex, part of the Kurtushibinskiy belt, as does the Zolotaya River ~15 km away, the site of other placer deposits. Three groups of alloy minerals are described: (1) Os–Ir–Ru compositions, which predominate, (2) Pt–Fe compositions of a Pt3Fe stoichiometry, and (3) Pt–Au–Cu alloys, which likely crystallized in the sequence from Au–(Cu)-bearing platinum, Pt(Au,Cu), Pt(Cu,Au), and PtAuCu2, to PtAu4Cu5. The general trends of crystallization of PGM appear to be: [Os–Ir–Ru alloys] → Pt3Fe-type alloy (with inclusions of Ru-dominant alloy formed by exsolution or via replacement of the host Pt–Fe phase) → Pt–Au–Cu alloys. We infer that Rh and Co mutually substitute for Fe, not Ni, and are incorporated into the pentlandite structure via a coupled mechanism of substitution: [Rh3+ + Co3+ + □ → 3Fe2+]. Many of the Os–Ir–Ru and Pt–Fe grains have porous, fractured or altered rims that contain secondary PGE sulfide, arsenide, sulfarsenide, sulfoantimonide, gold, Pt–Ir–Ni-rich alloys, and rarer phases like Cu-rich bowieite and a Se-rich sulfarsenide of Pt. The accompanying pyroxene, chromian spinel and serpentine are highly magnesian, consistent with a primitive ultramafic source-rock. Whereas the alloy phases indicate a highly reducing environment, late assemblages indicate an oxygenated local environment leading to Fe-bearing Ru–Os oxide (zoned) and seleniferous accessory phases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
PGE–(REE–Ti)-Rich Micrometer-Sized Inclusions, Mineral Associations, Compositional Variations, and a Potential Lode Source of Platinum-Group Minerals in the Sisim Placer Zone, Eastern Sayans, Russia
Minerals 2018, 8(5), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8050181
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
We report the results of a mineralogical investigation of placer samples from the upper reaches of the Sisim watershed, near Krasnoyarsk, in Eastern Sayans, Russia. The placer grains are predominantly Os–Ir–(Ru) alloys (80%) that host various inclusions (i.e., platinum-group elements (PGE)-rich monosulfide, PGE-rich [...] Read more.
We report the results of a mineralogical investigation of placer samples from the upper reaches of the Sisim watershed, near Krasnoyarsk, in Eastern Sayans, Russia. The placer grains are predominantly Os–Ir–(Ru) alloys (80%) that host various inclusions (i.e., platinum-group elements (PGE)-rich monosulfide, PGE-rich pentlandite, Ni–Fe–(As)-rich laurite, etc.) and subordinate amounts of Pt–Fe alloys. Analytical data (wavelength- and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) are presented for all the alloy minerals and the suite of micrometer-sized inclusions that they contain, as well as associated grains of chromian spinel. The assemblage was likely derived from chromitite units of the Lysanskiy mafic–ultramafic complex, noted for its Ti–(V) mineralization. In the Os–Ir–(Ru) alloys, the ratio Ru/Ir is ≤1, Ir largely substitutes for Os, and compositional variations indicate the scheme [Ir + Ru] → 2Os. In contrast, in the laurite–erlichmanite series, Ir and Os are strongly and positively correlated, whereas Ir and Ru are negatively correlated; Ru and Os are inversely correlated. These compositions point to the scheme [Os2+ + 2Ir3+ + □] → 4Ru2+ or alternatively, to Os2+ + Ir2+ → 2Ru2+. We deduce a potential sequence of crystallization in the parental rock and address the effects of decreasing temperature and increasing fugacity of sulfur and arsenic on the assemblage. Inclusions of Ti-rich minerals in the alloy grains are consistent with the Lysanskiy setting; the complete spectrum of chromite–magnesiochromite compositions indicates that an important part of that complex was eroded. A localized fluid-dominated micro-environment produced the unique association of laurite with monazite-(Ce), again considered a reflection of the special attributes of the Lysanskiy complex. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Variations of Major and Minor Elements in Pt–Fe Alloy Minerals: A Review and New Observations
Minerals 2019, 9(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9010025
Received: 5 December 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
Compositional variations of major and minor elements were examined in Pt–Fe alloys from various geological settings and types of deposits, both lode and placer occurrences. They included representatives of layered intrusions, Alaskan-Uralian-(Aldan)-type and alkaline gabbroic complexes, ophiolitic chromitites, and numerous placers from Canada, [...] Read more.
Compositional variations of major and minor elements were examined in Pt–Fe alloys from various geological settings and types of deposits, both lode and placer occurrences. They included representatives of layered intrusions, Alaskan-Uralian-(Aldan)-type and alkaline gabbroic complexes, ophiolitic chromitites, and numerous placers from Canada, USA, Russia, and other localities worldwide. Pt–Fe alloy grains in detrital occurrences are notably larger in size, and these are considered to be the result of a special conditions during crystallization such as temperature, pressure, geochemistry or time. In addition, the number of available statistical observations is much greater for the placer occurrences, since they represent the end-product of, in some cases, the weathering of many millions of tonnes of sparsely mineralized bedrock. Typically, platinum-group elements (PGE) present in admixtures (Ir, Rh, and Pd) and minor Cu, Ni are incorporated into a compositional series (Pt, PGE)2–3(Fe, Cu, Ni) in the lode occurrences. Relative Cu enrichment in alloys poor in Pt implies crystallization from relatively fractionated melts at a lower temperature. In contrast to the lode deposits, the distribution of Ir, Rh, and Pd is fairly chaotic in placer Pt–Fe grains. There is no relationship between levels of Ir, Rh, and Pd with the ratio Σ(Pt + PGE):(Fe + Cu + Ni). The compositional series (Pt, PGE)2–3(Fe, Cu, Ni) is not as common in the placer occurrences; nevertheless, minor Cu and Ni show their maximums in members of this series in the placer grains. Global-scale datasets yield a bimodal pattern of distribution in the Pt–Fe diagram, which is likely a reflection of the miscibility gap between the ordered Pt3Fe structure (isoferroplatinum) and the disordered structure of native or ferroan platinum. In the plot Pt versus Fe, there is a linear boundary due to ideal Pt ↔ Fe substitution. Two solid solution series are based on the Ir-for-Pt and Pd-for-Pt substitutions. The incorporation of Ir is not restricted to Pt3Fe–Ir3Fe substitution (isoferroplatinum and chengdeite, plus their disordered modifications). Besides, Ir0 appears to replace Pt0 in the disordered variants of (Pt–Ir)–Fe alloys. There is a good potential for the discovery of a new species with a Pd-dominant composition, (Pd, Pt)3Fe, most likely in association with the alkaline mafic-ultramafic or gabbroic complexes, or the mafic units of layered intrusions. The “field of complicated substitutions” is recognized as a likely reflection of the crystallochemical differences of Pd and Ir, extending along the Ir-Pd axis of the Ir–Pd–Rh diagram. The inferred solid solution extends approximately along the line Ir–(Pd:Rh = 2:3). Minor Pd presumably enters the solid solution via a coupled substitution in combination with the Rh. An Ir-enrichment trend in Pt–Fe alloys typically occurs in the Alaskan-type complexes. The large size of the Pt–Fe nuggets associated with some of these complexes is considered to be related to an ultramafic-mafic pegmatite facies, whereas significant Pd-enrichment is characteristic of gabbroic source-rocks (e.g., Coldwell Complex), resulting in a markedly different trend for the Pt versus Fe (wt.%). However, based on our examination of a large dataset of Pt–Fe alloys from numerous origins, we conclude that they exhibit compositional overlaps that are too large to be useful as reliable index-minerals. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Fate of Platinum-Group Minerals in the Exogenic Environment—From Sulfide Ores via Oxidized Ores into Placers: Case Studies Bushveld Complex, South Africa, and Great Dyke, Zimbabwe
Minerals 2018, 8(12), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8120581
Received: 14 August 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 December 2018 / Published: 9 December 2018
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Abstract
Diverse studies were performed in order to investigate the behavior of the platinum-group minerals (PGM) in the weathering cycle in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa and the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. Samples were obtained underground, from core, in surface outcrops, and from [...] Read more.
Diverse studies were performed in order to investigate the behavior of the platinum-group minerals (PGM) in the weathering cycle in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa and the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. Samples were obtained underground, from core, in surface outcrops, and from alluvial sediments in rivers draining the intrusions. The investigations applied conventional mineralogical methods (reflected light microscopy) complemented by modern techniques (scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mineral liberation analysis (MLA), electron-probe microanalysis (EPMA), and LA-ICPMS analysis). This review aims at combining the findings to a coherent model also with respect to the debate regarding allogenic versus authigenic origin of placer PGM. In the pristine sulfide ores, the PGE are present as discrete PGM, dominantly PGE-bismuthotellurides, -sulfides, -arsenides, -sulfarsenides, and -alloys, and substantial though variable proportions of Pd and Rh are hosted in pentlandite. Pt–Fe alloys, sperrylite, and most PGE-sulfides survive the weathering of the ores, whereas the base metal sulfides and the (Pt,Pd)-bismuthotellurides are destroyed, and ill-defined (Pt,Pd)-oxides or -hydroxides develop. In addition, elevated contents of Pt and Pd are located in Fe/Mn/Co-oxides/hydroxides and smectites. In the placers, the PGE-sulfides experience further modification, whereas sperrylite largely remains a stable phase, and grains of Pt–Fe alloys and native Pt increase in relative proportion. In the Bushveld/Great Dyke case, the main impact of weathering on the PGM assemblages is destruction of the unstable PGM and PGE-carriers of the pristine ores and of the intermediate products of the oxidized ores. Dissolution and redistribution of PGE is taking place, however, the newly-formed products are thin films, nano-sized particles, small crystallites, or rarely µm-sized grains primarily on substrates of precursor detrital/allogenic PGM grains, and they are of subordinate significance. In the Bushveld/Great Dyke scenario, and in all probability universally, authigenic growth and formation of discrete, larger PGM crystals or nuggets in the supergene environment plays no substantial role, and any proof of PGM “neoformation” in a grand style is missing. The final PGM suite which survived the weathering process en route from sulfide ores via oxidized ores into placers results from the continuous elimination of unstable PGM and the dispersion of soluble PGE. Therefore, the alluvial PGM assemblage represents a PGM rest spectrum of residual, detrital grains. Full article
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