Research on the Sudbury Igneous Complex Footwall
MERC and HES initiated a new and significant research program on the footwall environment of the Sudbury Igneous Complex in 2008. Interested faculty aggressively engaged industry partners to identify a set of collective industry needs and desires from both an exploration and research perspective. Through this engagement, an understanding of research needs that would benefit all partners was developed, after which five fundamental research projects were developed. These five projects were approved by all industry partners (Vale, Glencore, Wallbridge and KGHM) and were funded through CEMI to form an integrative MERC-CEMI-Vale-Glencore research program. Industry funding for this research program was subsequently matched by NSERC to double our research capacity.
The research projects that were undertaken cover the entire spectrum from primary igneous, metamorphic, hydrothermal, deformational and secondary igneous processes, and involves 6 HES faculty members, several industry scientists, and most importantly the training of 4 graduate students and 1 post-doctoral researcher. Lindsay Bygnes (MSc student) and Drs. Bruno Lafrance and Andrew McDonald investigated the evolution of metabreccia and associated mineralization within the Whistle offset. Dr. Tsilavo Raharimahefa (post-doc) and Drs. Bruno Lafrance and Doug Tinkham undertook a regional structural and metamorphic study on the evolution of the South Range of the SIC to upgrade our understanding of the regional deformational and metamorphic history relevant to South Range ore deposits. Taus Joergensen (PhD student) and Drs. Doug Tinkham and Michael Lesher are studying the previously unrecognized or underappreciated contact metamorphic aureole and anatexis in the South Range, including relationships between metamorphism and mineralization. Fabio Cafagna (PhD student) and Dr. Pedro Jugo are studying the behavior of PGE’s in magmatic and metamorphic environments to further our understanding of the behavior of PGE’s in the SIC contact and footwall environments. Finally, Craig Stewart (PhD student) and Dr. Daniel Kontak are investigating the complete hydrothermal system, both within the SIC itself and within footwall proximal mineralized zones to understand the fundamental role and interplay of fluids in the evolution of the SIC system and associated mineralization. Results from these studies have been presented to our industry partners on a regular basis through a set of semi-annual organized meetings, multiple annual field trips, on-site presentations, quarterly reports, and through submission of manuscripts to peer-reviewed internationally circulated scientific journals.