Lac Cinquante Uranium Deposit, Western Churchill Province, Nunavut, Canada

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2013

N.J. BRIDGE, N.R. BANERJEE, S. PEHRSSON, M. FAYEK, C.S. FINNIGAN, J. WARD, AND A. BERRY

Lac Cinquante is a mineralogically simple, vein-hosted uranium deposit in Archean basement rocks (Angikuni greenstone belt) that originally were unconformably overlain by Proterozoic sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the Baker Lake Group (BLG). Basement rocks are mainly pillowed and massive tholeiitic lavas (N-MORB) with interbedded tuff; overlying sedimentary rocks comprise a basal talus/fault breccia that grades upward into fluvial sedimentary rocks and subaerial, trachytic volcanic rocks; granite and porphyry dikes (Hudson and/or Nueltin granitoids) intrude the basement rocks. A typical section through the Main Zone comprises 1) laminated ‘tuff’, 2) altered (carbonate-hematite-chlorite) schistose ‘tuff’, 3) a pitchblende-bearing, breccia-vein, 4) altered ‘tuff’, and 5) laminated ‘tuff’. The vein comprises brecciated chlorite, hematite, and pitchblende with carbonate cementing the breccia. Graphitic ‘tuff’ with sulfide-stringer veinlets locally overlies or underlies the vein. Pitchblende also occurs in the altered rocks and in gash veins that cut basement rocks. U-Pb ages on pitchblende fall into two groups: one at 1828 ± 29 Ma reflects primary uranium mineralization, and a second at 1437 ± 31 Ma represents resetting. Pb-Pb chemical ages show other resetting events at 1260–1321Ma, 895 Ma, 741–813 Ma, and 660–706 Ma. One possible genetic model for the Lac Cinquante deposit involves leaching of uranium from granitoids and the BLG by basinal brines that migrated to depositional sites where graphitic rocks acted as a reductant. A second model requires that uranium was sole-sourced from the BLG and that granitoid rocks provided heat to drive the hydrothermal system, which leached and ultimately precipitated uranium. The deposit has characteristics similar to vein-type uranium deposits in the Beaverlodge District of Saskatchewan.
Keywords: NW Hearne, Archean basement, Baker Lake Group, Angikuni subbasin, vein-hosted uranium, graphite
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