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> Forsiden > Publikationer > Geology of Greenland Survey Bulletin > Vol. 191 Geol. Greenl. Surv. Bull. > Review of Greenland Activities 2001, pp 39-47


The mineral resource potential of the Nordre Strømfjord … Qasigiannguit region, southern and central West Greenland

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Assessment of the mineral resource potential of the
region between Sukkertoppen Iskappe and the south-
ern part of Nuussuaq, West Greenland (66°N to 70°15´N;
Fig. 1) is part of a regional resource assessment pro-
gramme of the Geological Survey of Denmark and
Greenland (GEUS) for 2000­2003. The year 2000 was
dedicated to the compilation of existing data and the
outlining of target areas for the field work in 2001 and
2002. This report gives a review of the work related to
the gold and base metal potential in the Nordre Strøm-
fjord ­ Qasigiannguit region, mainly based on results
from the 2001 field work.
Significant geological data have been collected from
the region by the Survey, research groups and explo-
ration companies during the past several decades; see
Kalsbeek & Nutman (1996), Connelly & Mengel (2000)
and van Gool et al. (2002, this volume) for geology,
Steenfelt (2001) for geochemistry and Rasmussen & van
Gool (2000) and Nielsen & Rasmussen (2002, this vol-
ume) for geophysics. Most of the region is easy of
access, and exposures are excellent along the shores
of the numerous fjords. However, inland areas may
locally have extensive Quaternary cover.
The target areas (Fig. 2) for the search for mineral
occurrences in 2001 were chosen on the basis of com-
pilations of all types of existing data, including the
Ujarassiorit (`public mineral hunt') programme (e.g.
Roos 1998).
Previous exploration
Exploration companies have been active in different
parts of the region since 1960. Kryolitselskabet Øresund
A/S conducted mineral exploration and prospecting
from the early 1960s until the late 1970s, with particu-
lar emphasis on investigations of rust zones (Keto 1963;
Vaasjoki 1964, 1965; Kurki 1965a, b; Gothenborg 1980;
Gothenborg & Keto 1980). During the geological map-
ping for the Survey's 1:100 000 Agto (= Attu) map sheet
between 1965 and 1978, discontinuous, stratiform mas-
sive iron sulphide mineralisations were found in
supracrustal rocks around the fjord Ataneq (Fig. 2;
Platou 1967). Nunaoil A/S prospecting in the Agto map
sheet area during the early 1990s included helicopter-
based regional heavy mineral concentrate and stream
sediment sampling that was followed up in selected
areas by further investigations (Geyti & Pedersen 1991;
Gowen 1992; Sieborg 1992; Grahl-Madsen 1993, 1994).
The main target of their investigations was location of
base and noble metal deposits in exhalative settings.
Later in the 1990s, RTZ Mining and Exploration Ltd
(Coppard 1995) and Inco Ltd (Car 1997) prospected
for Ni-Cu and PGM deposits, inspired by the spectac-
ular discoveries in rocks of comparable age at Voisey's
Bay, Labrador (Li & Naldrett 1999).
Geological setting
The study region comprises parts of the Palaeoprotero-
zoic Rinkian mobile belt and Nagssugtoqidian orogenic
belt (van Gool et al. 2002, this volume). The 2001 inves-
tigations were concentrated in the northern Nagssug-
toqidian orogen (NNO), which consists dominantly of
Archaean orthogneisses and paragneisses with several
thin belts of supracrustal and intrusive rocks. Granitic
rocks and numerous pegmatites intrude the gneisses.
Palaeoproterozoic rock units are limited to the Arfersi-
orfik intrusive suite and minor supracrustal sequences
(Connelly & Mengel 2000).
Metamorphic grade is mainly amphibolite facies; the
southern part of the NNO south of Ataneq (Fig. 1) is
in granulite facies, as is most of the central Nagssug-
toqidian orogen (CNO). The gneisses are intensely
folded and exhibit general E­W and NE­SW trends.
The Palaeoproterozoic reworking of the Archaean
gneisses in the NNO decreases gradually northwards,
The mineral resource potential of the Nordre Strøm-
fjord ­ Qasigiannguit region, southern and central West
Henrik Stendal, Jette Blomsterberg, Sven Monrad Jensen, Mogens Lind, Heine Buus Madsen,
Bo Møller Nielsen, Leif Thorning and Claus Østergaard
Geology of Greenland Survey Bulletin 191, 39­47 (2002) © GEUS, 2002
GSB191-Indhold 13/12/02 11:29 Side 39
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Granitic intrusions (s.l.)
Archaean gneiss reworked
in the Palaeoproterozoic
Supracrustal rocks
Intermediate to basic intrusions
Supracrustal rocks
Anap Nunâ Group
Granitic intrusions (s.l.)
Calc-alkaline intrusions
Arfersiorfik and Sisimiut suites
Boye Sø anorthosite complex
Sarfartoq carbonatite complex
Cretaceous­Palaeogene sediments
and volcanic rocks
50 km
Jakobshavn Isfjord
ssugtoqidian o
Rinkian o
D i s
k o
B u
g t
Nordre Strømfjord
Fig. 1. Geological map of the assessment region in West Greenland. Red frame delineates the 2001 field study region. SNO, CNO
and NNO are, respectively, the southern, central and northern Nagssugtoqidian orogen. Slightly modified from van Gool et al. (2002,
this volume).
GSB191-Indhold 13/12/02 11:29 Side 40
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e.g. from high strain in the south to a more open style
of deformation in the north. Steep- and shallow-dipping
shear and fault zones are common in contact zones
between different types of lithologies. Major fault zones
generally trend between NNE­SSW and NE­SW.
The gneisses of the NNO have yielded late Archaean
ages between 2870 and 2700 Ma (Kalsbeek & Nutman
1996; Connelly & Mengel 2000), and a discordant
Archaean granite occurs in the central part of the NNO
(Kalsbeek & Nutman 1996). Only a few younger
Palaeoproterozoic ages have been recorded, including
an age of about 1790 Ma from an undeformed pegmatite
between Attu and Aasiaat (Connelly & Mengel 2000).
Mineral occurrences
Most of the mineral occurrences in the region are small
and their economic potential is limited; at present, the
largest known occurrence is the Naternaq pyrrhotite
50 km
11 5
Inland Ice
Kuup Akua
Nordre S
Fig. 2. Index map of the 2001 study region. The framed areas are where the main 2001 field work was carried out. Numbers refer
to the described localities in the text. A: Akuliaruseq; G: Giesecke Sø.
GSB191-Indhold 13/12/02 11:29 Side 41
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deposit. Descriptions of the different types of mineral
occurrences are given below, where the reference num-
bers refer to localities in Fig. 2.
Naternaq massive sulphides
The Naternaq supracrustal belt consists of metavolcanic
rocks interlayered with pelitic and psammitic metasedi-
ments, carbonate/marble units, exhalites and/or chert-
rich layers, and minor quartzite and banded iron-
formation. In total, these units make up an up to 3 km
thick supracrustal sequence which is folded into a major
shallow-dipping ENE­WSW-trending antiform; the
supracrustal sequence can be traced for approximately
30 km along strike, around the nose of the antiform and
into the northern limb. Massive granite sheets and peg-
matite veins intrude the supracrustal rocks in the central
part of the belt. A detailed description of the stratigraphy
of the supracrustal rocks is given by Østergaard et al.
2002 (this volume).
Massive to semi-massive sulphide occurrences are
found in several distinct rusty beds within the Naternaq
supracrustal belt (1; Fig. 2), which occur close to the
contact of a fine-grained metavolcanic amphibolite with
a discontinuous carbonate unit. The mineralised beds
consist of banded chert layers, `black ore' sediments and
calcareous schists, and are found both within the amphi-
bolite and the adjacent calc-silicate developments
(Fig. 3). Banded iron-formation occurs locally in the
amphibolite as exhalite zones composed of cm-banded
layers of magnetite, siderite
quartz and calc-silicates.
Massive sulphide lenses (70­90 vol.%) are usually
x 4 m in size, but lenses up to 2 x 10 m across have
been observed. Semi-massive sulphides (20­50 vol.%)
occur as 0.5­1 m thick parallel zones that can be fol-
lowed for 50­100 m along strike. The Fe-sulphide con-
tent is generally high. The occurrences are characterised
by pyrrhotite with minor chalcopyrite and sphalerite,
together with subordinate pyrite, arsenopyrite, mag-
netite and graphite. The sulphide ore may occur within
the core of folds, as a result of remobilisation by
hydrothermal/metamorphic fluids. Chemical analyses
have yielded up to 2.7% Cu and 3.75% Zn, with gold
values of 20­80 ppb (Vaasjoki 1965). The sulphide con-
centrations were estimated by Vaasjoki (1964) to amount
to 2.4­4.8 million tonnes of indicated resource and
8.1­16.2 million tonnes of inferred resource.
Nordre Strømfjord pyrrhotite
Between Giesecke Sø (Fig. 2) and Ataneq, semi-mas-
sive pyrrhotite lenses can be traced over a strike length
of about 22 km (2; Fig. 2). The lenses occur in two par-
allel layers up to one metre thick and with varying length
(10­100 m) within a supracrustal sequence composed
of foliated amphibolite and biotite-garnet (± graphite
± sillimanite) paragneisses. The supracrustal rocks have
a general strike of 265° and dip 60°N, parallel to the
Nordre Strømfjord shear zone (van Gool et al. 2002, this
volume). The most common host rocks to the pyrrhotite
lenses are skarn, amphibolite, biotite-garnet gneiss and
altered silicified lithologies, occasionally with conspic-
uous amounts of graphite. Chip samples of the miner-
alised pyrrhotite beds yield up to 0.3% Cu, 4% Mn, 600
ppm Ni and 400 ppm Zn.
Fig. 3. Naternaq massive sulphide
deposit (`Rust Hill') with the characteris-
tic yellow-brown weathering colour
(locality 1 in Fig. 2). Distance across the
hill is c. 100 m.
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Iron-formation at Inuarullikkat
At the fjord Inuarullikkat a well-exposed, 10­20 m wide
magnetite-bearing amphibolite occurs intercalated with
brown coloured gneisses (3; Fig. 2) and can be fol-
lowed continuously along the coast for several kilo-
metres. The magnetite-bearing layer (Fig. 4) is a 1.5 m
thick banded iron-formation with a NE­SW strike and
54° dip to the north-west, and comprises alternating
1­10 mm wide bands of magnetite and quartz. Adjacent
to the iron-formation, quartz-bearing rusty horizons
contain disseminated pyrite and magnetite.
The occurrences of loose sulphide-bearing blocks
in the Inuarullikkat area, thought to be of local origin,
suggest the area has a potential for sulphide minerali-
sation. The main sulphide is pyrite, both disseminated
and as veins and veinlets in quartz-rich lithologies;
some samples contain graphite. The studied samples
have elevated values of Cu (741 ppm), Mn (1170 ppm),
Ni (271 ppm), and Zn (272 ppm).
Graphite-pyrrhotite schist
Graphite-pyrrhotite schists are common in the
supracrustal successions of the study area, of which
the best known occurrence is the graphite deposit at
Akuliaruseq (Fig. 2), which contains 1.6 million tonnes
of ore grading 14.8% graphite and 6 million tonnes with
9.5% graphite (Bondam 1992; Grahl-Madsen 1994). The
mineralisation is believed to be stratiform. Other graphite-
bearing supracrustal rocks occur at Nordre Strømfjord
(4; Fig. 2). Graphite layers in the schists range from
1­10 m in width, and are clearly concentrated in fold
closures and within shear zones. Iron sulphides range from
1 to 5 vol.% in the most sulphide-rich parts of the schists,
and gold is recorded in small amounts (10­100 ppb).
Mafic to ultramafic rocks
Small gabbroic bodies are found throughout the study
region (5, 6, 7; Fig. 2). Locally they preserve well-devel-
oped magmatic layering and contain small amounts of
magnetite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, and chalcopyrite. One
gabbro body north of Ataneq (5), 300
x 400 m in size,
is medium-grained, brownish weathering, and preserves
magmatic banding as 1­5 cm wide light and dark bands.
Some parts of the gabbro contain magnetite-bearing
layers and occasional malachite staining is seen. The
texture of the gabbro is similar to that of many of the
magnetite-bearing amphibolites of the Attu and Ataneq
A hitherto undescribed 10
x 30 m gabbroic body was
found on the steep, eastern side of a small island north
of Qasigiannguit (6), where it has tectonic contacts
against the enveloping banded gneisses. The gabbro is
coarse-grained and completely altered; medium- to
coarse-grained magnetite occurs throughout the body,
with the largest concentration in the centre of the alter-
ation zone. Disseminated pyrite is found throughout the
Isolated pods of ultramafic rock up to 30 m thick are
common in the supracrustal units of the Ussuit region
(7), where they are cut by SSW­NNE-trending joints
parallel to the regional faults of the region. They are
invariably pervasively altered to light green actinolite,
and contain small amounts of interstitial iron sulphides.
Fig. 4. Banded iron-formation with
magnetite and rusty pyrite-bearing mica
gneiss zone at the fjord Inuarullikkat
(locality 3 in Fig. 2).
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The gneisses throughout the study region are commonly
cut by red-coloured pegmatites in which the K-feldspar
crystals often reach more than 10 cm in size. These peg-
matites occur as concordant and discordant bodies and
bands up to 1 m across. Some contain conspicuous
aggregates of magnetite, allanite and occasionally pyrite,
but they do not seem to have any economic potential.
White-coloured pegmatites are less common than
the red K-feldspar pegmatites, and contain minor con-
tents of iron sulphides; up to 400 ppb gold was recorded
in a composite chip sample from a sulphide-miner-
alised pegmatite from the Kangaatsiaq area. This type
of pegmatite also carries monazite (Secher 1980).
Shear zones
In the southern Attu area a 100­330 m wide mylonite
zone (8; Fig. 2) cuts through granulite and high amphi-
bolite facies gneisses, and forms part of a complex
shear system consisting of three parallel fault systems
striking NNE­SSW and dipping 60­70°W.
Gold-bearing Ujarassiorit samples originate from a
coastal cliff along the mylonite and shear zone, which
here consists of 5­20 cm wide bands of mylonite and
a rusty band (10­20 cm thick) containing pyrite, mag-
netite and some chalcopyrite (Fig. 5). The host rock is
grey gneiss, which is silicified at its contact with the min-
eralised zone. New samples collected in 2001 confirm
gold contents of up to 4 ppm.
Fault zones
Mineralised faults occur between the inner parts of Kuup
Akua (9; Fig. 2) and Ussuit. Semi-massive 5­10 cm thick
lenses of pyrrhotite with pyrite and chalcopyrite occur
along both margins of the central part of the fault zone,
which is up to 5 m wide, with a high content of graphite.
In a zone up to 100 m wide east of the fault zone,
intense malachite staining occurs in supracrustal rocks
in patches up to 2 m across (Fig. 6).
Prominent SSW­NNE-trending faults cut through all
lithologies in the region, and are commonly charac-
terised by red and green colouring due to conspicuous
amounts of K-feldspar and epidote, which are related
to zones of intense silicification along the fault planes
(e.g. 10; Fig. 2).
A crush zone striking 030° occurs on the island
Oqaatsut (11; Fig. 2). Along the main crush zone ankerite
occurs on joints, and patches of malachite staining occur
in the host gneiss. On north-east Oqaatsut the crush zone
is locally up to 50 m wide and cuts gneiss, amphibo-
lite and pegmatite. The crush breccia is clast supported
(clasts 1­10 cm in size), veined by ankerite and silici-
fied; joints are filled with epidote and chlorite. Several
boudins (1
x 4 m) of amphibolite with small amounts
of iron sulphides are enclosed in the crush zone.
Eqaluit `supracrustals'
A thick NE­SW-trending amphibolite encloses a 5 m
thick, rusty weathering garnet-quartz rock (garnetite)
which hosts a sulphide mineralisation south of Eqaluit
(12; Fig. 2). Pyrrhotite has been identified, and a light
brown alteration is caused by haematisation associated
with pervasive jointing.
Fig. 5. Shear zone south of Attu (locality 8 in Fig. 2), with mylonite
and associated magnetite, pyrite and gold mineralisation.
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Quartz and carbonate veins
Gold-bearing quartz veins were found in an Ujarassiorit
sample from an island south of Attu (13; Fig. 2), and
this site was revisited in 2001. The quartz veins occur
as concordant up to 30 cm thick veins and as 5­10 cm
thick discordant veins; gold contents of up to 0.5 ppm
have been recorded.
At Kangilinaaq on the northern shore of the fjord
Kangersuneq (14; Fig. 2) an up to 15 m wide boudi-
naged metadolerite dyke can be followed along strike
for several kilometres. The necks of the boudins are
cross-cut by quartz-calcite veins (3­4 cm wide and up
to 50 cm long) and pegmatites which contain dissem-
inated sulphides and magnetite (less than 1 vol.%).
Lithological contacts
Contact zones between different lithologies are often
the site of mineralisations, with locally up to one metre
wide zones of mineralised host rocks containing dis-
seminated pyrite (max. 5 vol.%) and magnetite (e.g.
15; Fig. 2). These appear to be associated with pegmatitic
developments, which has led to enhanced sulphide
contents in the host rocks as a consequence of remo-
bilisation along the contacts.
On the Kangilinaaq peninsula a band of semi-mas-
sive pyrrhotite occurs in a reaction zone between mafic
and supracrustal rocks. Spectacular rust horizons are also
associated with an approximately 50 m thick, coarse-
grained, hornblende-garnet-rich mafic unit containing
disseminated magnetite and hematite (16; Fig. 2). This
area has previously been targeted for prospecting by
Kryolitselskabet Øresund A/S (Gothenborg 1980) and
Nunaoil A/S (Petersen 1997).
Marble and calc-silicate-rich rocks
Marble and calc-silicate rocks occur in supracrustal
sequences over most of the region. At a few localities
(e.g. 17; Fig. 2) fluorite occurs in minor amounts in the
marble and calc-silicate rocks, especially near the con-
Fig. 6. Fault zone in paragneiss in southern Kuup Akua. Malachite staining occurs in jointed, but unaltered country rock. The pattern
of blocky jointing can be recognised in a several hundred metres wide zone along the trace of the fault (locality 9 in Fig. 2).
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tacts with quartzo-feldspathic country rocks. Graphite
is also a common accessory mineral, and is especially
common in marbles on the north-west shore of Kuup
Akua. In the Naternaq area, carbonate rocks are asso-
ciated with the sulphide horizons (see Østergaard et al.
2002, this volume).
Amphibolites south of Ataneq have gabbroic textures
and contain magnetite in thin layers of probable mag-
matic origin. The amphibolites and supracrustal rocks
north of Ataneq are reminiscent of supracrustal
sequences in the Naternaq area, but lack the carbon-
ate and exhalite components. Carbonates are more
common in the southern part of the study area (e.g. Kuup
Akua). Exhalite rocks are known from the Naternaq
area and from the area between Giesecke Sø and Ataneq
in the vicinity of Nordre Strømfjord.
In the study region the only major mineral deposits
known are the Naternaq pyrrhotite deposit and the
Akuliaruseq graphite deposit. The former is further dis-
cussed by Østergaard et al. (2002, this volume).
Gold anomalies south of Attu appear to be related
to both shear zones and quartz veins. Gold is also found
in white pegmatite veins in the Kangaatsiaq area. Gold
anomalies in the Attu area are related to shear zones
associated with a complex fault system; the gold is asso-
ciated with pyrite, chalcopyrite and magnetite.
Granite and pegmatite intrusions are often associated
with sulphide and magnetite mineralisation in the adja-
cent host rocks.
Hydrothermal activity along NE­SW-trending linea-
ments seems to be responsible for sulphide and oxide
mineralisation and secondary malachite staining. Crush
and mylonite zones with carbonatisation (ankerite) and
silicification characterise lineaments and fault zones.
Narrow zones of silicification are common throughout
the study region.
None of the presently known mineral occurrences
seem to have economic potential. The sulphide occur-
rences are dominated by pyrrhotite with only minor
pyrite and chalcopyrite.
The skipper and crew of M/S Søkongen are thanked for good
seamanship and much practical help.
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Authors' addresses
H.S., S.M.J., M.L., B.M.N. & L.T., Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.
E-mail: hst@geus.dk
J.B., Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, P.O. Box 930, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland.
H.B.M., Geological Institute, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Århus C, Denmark.
C.Ø., Aggersvoldvej 15, 2. tv., DK-2700 Brønshøj, Denmark.
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