Kambalda type komatiitic nickel ore deposits

Kambalda Type Komatiitic Nickel Ore Deposits

Kambalda type komatiitic nickel ore deposits

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Kambalda type nickel ore deposits are a class of magmatic nickel-copper ore deposit in which the physical processes of komatiite volcanology serve to enrich, concentrate and deposit nickel-bearing sulfide within the lava flow environment of an erupting komatiite volcano.


The classification of the type of ore environment sets these apart from other similar nickel sulfide ore deposits, which share many of the same source and transport criteria for nickel mineralization, according to the trap mechanism.

Kambalda-type ore deposits are distinctive in that the deposition of nickel sulfides occurs within the lava flow channel upon the palaeosurface. This is distinct from other komatiite and ultramafic associated NiS ore deposits, where nickel sulfide accumulates within the lava conduit or upon the floor or within a subvolcanic lava chamber.

Genetic model

The genetic model of Kambalda-type Ni-Cu-(PGE) ore deposits is similar that of many other magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE ore deposits:

  • Metal Source: komatiitic magma, which has been generated by high-degree partial melting of the mantle and which was strongly undersaturated in sulfide in the source (Wendland, 1982; see also Mavrogenes and O'Neill, 1999)
  • Sulfur Source: S-rich country rocks (sulfidic sediments and volcanic rocks), from which the sulfide is melted by the high-temperature komatiite magma
  • Dynamic System: Ni-Cu-Co-PGE are chalcophile and will preferentially partition from the silicate melt into the sulfide......
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