Magmatic Nickel Deposit Model
Nickel deposits fall into three main types – Archaean komatiite hosted deposits, laterite nickel deposits and magmatic nickel sulphide deposits. A fourth type (hydrothermal) is emerging in importance Australia’s eastern states with discoveries in Tasmania and Queensland. The Thomson fold belt is prospective for the magmatic and hydrothermal types, which are usually associated with mafic to ultramafic igneous intrusions.
Nickel occurs as sulphides such as the mineral pentlandite and is thought to accumulate by gravitational settling and similar processes related to magma flow. Copper, chromite and Platinum group element (PGEs) deposits share the same association.