Fragmental massive sulphides at the Heath Steele Mine, New Brunswick

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 811, 1979

LEO OWSIACKI and A.L McALLISTER, Department of Geology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B.

Both the B and A-C ore zones of the Heath Steele Mine contain extensive areas of brecciated ore. This texturally distinct ore type has been tentatively defined as a fragmental or conglomerate massive sulphide.It consists of subangular and round fragments of pyrite up to 30 cm in diameter, smaller quartz clasts and chloritized, mineralized, lithic fragments in a faintly banded matrix ofpyr-rhotite and chalcopyrite. The chalcopyrite is concentrated in the pressure shadows of the fragments and appears to reflect remobilization and recrystallization during a deformation which postdates the formation of the clasts.A generally conformable relationship with the underlying banded pyrite-sphalerite ore, discordancy with the host banded argillites, spatial distribution and similarity to Kuroko ores suggest that the fragmental ore is of primary origin and that breccia formation is probably due to soft-sediment slumping or sliding initiated by volcanic explosions, as hypothesized for similar massive sulphides in various Japanese mines. It is nevertheless recognized that certain structural features in some clasts may result from deformation preceding the formation of the breccia, and at this stage a tectonic origin cannot be completely eliminated.
Keywords: Massive sulphides, Breccia ore, Sediment slumping, Heath Steele Mine, Mineralization, Ore deposits, Deformation, Metamorphism.