Prof. Reid Keys Honours Projects

Platinum mineralization in the Owendale Complex: A possible key to the formation of platinum nuggets in placer deposits

Supervisors: Reid Keays and Oliver Nebel
Field of Study: Economic geology, isotope geochemistry
Support Offered: All travel, field, analytical & thesis-preparation costs
Collaborating Organisation: Platina Resources

A major source of Platinum (Pt), a critical element in the 21st Century, has been Pt nuggets found in placer and laterite deposits. However, the genesis of these nuggets has been a hotly debated controversy with some researchers suggesting that they were formed by magmatic processes but others claiming that they were formed during weathering and laterite formation.

Platinum-group element (PGE) mineralization in both the ultramafic rocks of the Owendale Complex in NSW and in the laterite overlying these rocks afford an ideal opportunity to resolve this important issue. The ultramafic rocks contain both Pt-Cu-Fe alloys and PGE-rich Cu sulphides while Pt-Fe alloys occur in the laterites. Copper (Cu) isotopes will be used to test the idea that the Pt-Cu-Fe alloys were produced during the serpentinization of the PGE-rich Cu sulphides.

The study involves logging of diamond drill core, detailed petrographic investigation of thin sections and isotope analysis.

For further information contact Reid Keays