GREENSTONE-HOSTED QUARTZ-CARBONATE VEIN DEPOSITS (OROGENIC, MESOTHERMAL, LODE GOLD, SHEAR-ZONE-RELATED QUARTZCARBONATE OR GOLD

-ONLY DEPOSITS)
BENOÎT DUBÉ AND PATRICE GOSSELIN
Geological Survey of Canada, 880 Chemin Sainte-Foy, Quebec, G1S 2L2, Canada E-mail:bdube@nrcan.gc.ca Definition Simplified definition Quartz and carbonate veins with valuable amounts of gold and silver, in faults and shear zones located within deformed terrains of ancient to recent orogenic greenstone belts. Scientific definition Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits (GQC) are a sub-type of lode gold deposits (Poulsen et al., 2000) (Fig. 1). They are also known as mesothermal, orogenic (mesozonal and hypozonal - the near surface orogenic epizonal Au-Sb-Hg deposits (Groves et al., 1998) are not included in this synthesis), lode gold, shear-zone-related quartz-carbonate or gold-only deposits (Roberts, 1987; Colvine, 1989; Kerrich and Wyman, 1990; Robert, 1990; Kerrich and Feng, 1992; Hodgson, 1993, Kerrich and Cassidy, 1994; Robert, 1995; Groves et al., 1998; Hagemann and Cassidy, 2000; Kerrich et al., 2000; Goldfarb et al., 2001; Groves et al., 2003; Goldfarb et al., in press; and references therein). They correspond to structurally controlled complex epigenetic deposits hosted in deformed metamorphosed terranes. They consist of simple to complex networks of goldbearing, laminated quartz-carbonate fault-fill veins in moderately to steeply dipping, compressional brittle-ductile shear zones and faults with locally associated shallow-dipping extensional veins and hydrothermal breccias. They are hosted by greenschist to locally amphibolite facies metamorphic rocks of dominantly mafic composition and formed at intermediate depth in the crust (5-10km). They are typically associated with iron-carbonate alteration. The mineralization is syn- to late-deformation and typically post-peak greenschist facies or syn-peak amphibolite facies metamorphism. They are genetically associated with a low salinity, CO2H2O-rich hydrothermal fluid thought to also contain CH4, N2, K and S. Gold is largely confined to the quartz-carbon-

EPITHERMAL CLAN

km 0
PALEOPLACER

HOTSPRING

ADVANCED ARGILLIC HIGH-SULPHIDATION

LOW SULFIDATION ARGILLIC

Rhyolite dome

sea level

HIGH-SULPHIDATION AURICH MASSIVE SULPHIDE
(mainly after Hannington)

1

STOCKWORKDISSEMINATED AU Permeable Unit

SERICITE

BRECCIA-PIPE AU Carbonate rocks CARLIN TYPE AU MANTO AU SKARN

GREENSTONE VEIN CLAN

PORPHYRY AU Dyke

5
TURBIDITE-HOSTED VEIN BIF-HOSTED VEIN Wacke-shale Volcanic

Stock

Vein

INTRUSION-RELATED CLAN
(mainly after Sillitoe)

10

Iron formation Granitoid

Shear zone

INFERRED CRUSTAL LEVELS OF GOLD DEPOSITION

Figure 1: Inferred crustal levels of gold deposition showing the different types of gold deposits and the inferred deposit clan (from Dubé et al., 2001c; modified from Poulsen et al., 2000).

Benoît Dubé and Patrice Gosselin

New Brittannia Discovery Yellowknife Kensington Lupin Red Lake Berezovkoe Kochkar Svetlinskoe Aksu Zun-Holba Stepnyak Darasun Duolanasayi Qiyiqiu No. 1 Paishanlou Daugyztau Akbakay Baguamiao Shanggong Zarmitan Wenyu Woxi Hetai Erjia Natalka Karalveem

Casa Berardi Chibougamau Val d'Or Treadwell Bralorne-Pioneer Malartic Timmins Homestake San Antonio Meguma Ross Alleghany District Grass Valley District Kirkland Mother Lode System Beardmore-Geraldton Larder Lake Lake La Herradura Renabie Alaska-Juneau Amesmessa El Callao Gross Rosebel Omai Yatela Morila Syama Poura

Hutti Kolar Lega Dembi Bulyanhulu Shamva Mazoe Dalny Golden Valley Lonely Blanket

Bibiani Obuasi Cam & Motor Fazenda Brasileiro Morro do Ouro Globe and Phoenix Morro Velho Passagem de Mariana Navachab

Fairview New Consort Sheba

Tarmoola Plutonic Jundee Bronzewing Wiluna The GranitesLancefield Granny Smith Meekatharra Gympie Day Dawn Wallaby Sunrise Dam - Cleo Morning Star / Evening Star Stawell Sons of Gwalia Bendigo Golden Mile Mount Charlotte Royal

New Celebration Norseman Victory-Defiance

Legend
Cenozoic Mesozoic Paleozoic Proterozoic Archean Phanerozoic Precambrian Proterozoic-Phanerozoic Gold deposit types: Qtz-cb shear zone-related BIF-hosted Turbidite-hosted

FIG. 2: World distribution of world class greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits.

ate vein network but may also be present in significant amounts within iron-rich sulphidized wallrock selvages or silicified and arsenopyrite-rich replacement zones. They are distributed along major compressional to transtensional crustal-scale fault zones in deformed greenstone terranes of all ages, but are more abundant and significant, in terms of total gold content, in Archean terranes. However a significant number of world-class deposits are also found in

Proterozoic and Paleozoic terranes. International examples of this sub-type of gold-deposits include Mother Lode-Grass Valley (U.S.A.), Mt. Charlotte, Norseman and Victory (Australia) (Fig. 2). The best Canadian examples are SigmaLamaque (Quebec); Dome and Kerr Addison (Ontario); Giant and Con (Northwest Territories); San Antonio (Manitoba); and Hammer Down (Newfoundland). Diagnostic features of greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein type of gold deposit The diagnostic features of the greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein type gold deposits are arrays and networks of fault- and shear-zone-related quartz-carbonate laminated fault-fill and extensional veins in associated carbonatized metamorphosed greenstone rocks. The deposits are typically associated with largescale (crustal) compressional faults (Fig. 3). They have a very significant vertical extent (</= 2km), with a very limited metallic zonation. Associated mineral deposit types Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein (GQC) deposits are thought to represent a major component of the greenstone deposit clan (Fig 1). They can

Casa Berardi

Hollinger McIntyre PDF Pamour Dome Kirkland Kerr Horne Lake Addison LLCF Doyon Bousquet-LaRonde Malartic Sigma-Lamaque

100 km
Granitoid rock Mafic intrusion Volcanic rock Proterozoic cover Sedimentary rock Major fault World-class orogenic gold Other gold deposits deposits LLCF Larder Lake - Cadillac World-class gold-rich Fault Zone volcanogenic massive-sulfides PDF Pocupine - Destor Fault Zone Other gold-rich VMS

FIG. 3: Simplified geological map of the Abitibi greenstone belt showing the distribution of major fault zones and of gold deposits. Modified from Poulsen et al. (2000).

2

Greenstone Gold Synthesis coexist regionally with iron-formation-hosted vein and disseminated deposits as well as with turbidite-hosted quartzcarbonate vein deposits. However, in metamorphosed terranes, different styles of gold deposits formed at different crustal levels, such as Au-rich VMS or intrusion-related gold deposits, may have been juxtaposed against greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein type deposits during the different increments of strain and metamorphism that characterized Archean greenstone belts (Poulsen et al., 2000). Although they were formed at different times, they are now co-existing along major faults. Good examples are the Bousquet 2 - LaRonde 1 and LaRonde Penna Au-rich VMS deposits distributed along the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault near the former GQC mine (Fig. 3) east of Noranda. Economic Characteristics Of Deposit Type Summary of economic characteristics The total world production and reserves of gold, including the Witwatersrand placer depost, stands at 126,423 metric tonnes Au (Gosselin and Dubé, 2005). Canadian production and reserves, at 9,276 metric tonnes Au, represent 7,3% of the world total. The world production and reserves for the greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposit subtype is 16 585 metric tonnes Au (Dubé and Gosselin, 2004), equivalent to 13,1% of the world total production. The Canadian production and reserves is 6,173 metric tonnes, which constitutes 37,5% of the world production and 66,6% of the Canadian production and reserves. The Superior province contains 87,8% (5,419 metric tonnes) of Canadian gold production and reserves for greenstone-hosted quartzcarbonate vein deposits. The Abitibi subprovince is the main source and represents 72,4% (4 470 metric tonnes) of the total. There are 104 known greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits world-wide containing at least 30 tonnes (~1 M oz) of Au (production and reserves), including 32 Canadian deposits. There are 33 deposits in Canda, and several hundreds worldwide, with more than 7,5 tonnes (250,000 oz) but less than 30 tonnes. A select group of 41 world-class deposits contains more than 100 tonnes of Au, including 12 giant deposits with more than 250 tonnes. In this group of world-class deposits, 7 are from the Canadian Archean Superior Province, 6 from the Abitibi greenstone belt and one from the Uchi sub-province (Campbell-Red Lake). The Superior Province is the largest and best preserved Archean craton in terms of gold endowment, followed by the Yilgarn craton of Australia. The temporal and geographical distribution of the greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits is shown in Figure 2. Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits are found in greenstone terranes of all ages. Although they are present in the Paleozoic, the greenstonehosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits are largely concentrated in Precambrian terranes, and especially in terranes of Archean age. In Canada, all the world-class deposits but one are of Archean age. Their concentration in the Archean is thought to be related to the continental growth and the related higher number of large scale collisions between continents, and to the associated development of major faults and large scale hydrothermal fluid flow during the super continent cycle and mantle plume (cf. Barley and Groves, 1992; Condie, 1998; Kerrich et al., 2000; Goldfarb et al., 2001). Grade and tonnage characteristics The greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits are one of the most significant sources of gold and account for 13.1% of all the world gold content (production and reserves). They are second only to the Witwatersrand paleoplacers of South Africa. The largest GQC deposit in terms of total gold content is the Golden Mile complex in Kalgoorlie, Australia with 1821 tonnes Au. The Hollinger-McIntyre deposit in Timmins, Ontario, is the second largest deposit ever found with 987 tonnes of gold. The average grade of the deposits varies from 5 to 15 g/t Au, whereas the tonnage is highly variable from a few thousand tonnes to 10 million tonnes of ore, although more typically there are only a few million tonnes of ore (Fig. 4).
35
Number of deposits

30 25 20 15 10 5
105 125 135 145 155 165

0-5 0

Ore tonnage (Mt)

45 40
Number of deposits

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

0 -15

2 10

3 15

4 20

5 25

115

6 30

7 35

8 40

Ore grade (g/t)

FIG. 4: Tonnage and grade repartition for gold deposits of 30t Au or more.

Comparison of grade and tonnage characteristics with the global range In Canada, this type of gold deposits is widely distributed from the Paleozoic greenstone terrane of the Appalachian orogen on the east coast with the Hammer Down and Deer Cove deposits in Newfoundland (Dubé et al., 1993; Gaboury et al.,1996), to the Archean greenstone belts of the Superior (Dome and Sigma mines) and Slave provinces (Con and Giant mines) in central Canada to the oceanic terranes of the Cordillera (Bralorne-Pioneer). The average gold grade of world-class Canadian deposits (over 30t Au) stands at 10,06 g/t, which is a little 3

915

0
15 25 35 45 55 65 75 85 95

Benoît Dubé and Patrice Gosselin to the nature of the host structure (extensional vs compressional). Extensional veins typically display quartz and carbonate fibres at high angle to the vein walls with multiple stages of mineral growth, whereas the laminated veins are rather composed of massive fine grained quartz (Fig. 7E). When present the fibres are sub-parallel to the vein walls (Robert et al., 1994; Robert and Poulsen, 2001). In Red Lake, the high-grade mineralization is typically related to silicification and associated arsenopyrite, of barren to low grade quartz-carbonate cavity fill vein (Dubé et al., 2001b, 2002) (Fig. 8). Dimensions Individual veins vary from a few cm to 5m thick and 10 to 1000m long. Vertical extent of the orebody is commonly larger than 1 km and reach 2 km in a few cases (ex: Campbell-Red Lake and Kirkland Lake deposits, Canada). Morphology The gold-bearing shear zones and faults are mainly compressionnal and they commonly display a complex geometry with anastomosing and/or conjugate arrays (Daigneault and Archambault, 1990; Hodgson, 1993; Robert et al., 1994; Robert and Poulsen, 2001). The individual faultfill veins are 10 to a few hundreds of meters long, although

Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits

Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits
100

10
Grade (g/t)

Grass Valley Campbell-Red Lake Kirkland Lake Kolar Bulyanhulu Hollinger-McIntyre Kerr Addison Sigma-Lamaque Dome Kochkar Berezovskoe

1

Golden Mile Alaska-Juneau

10 00 0t Au 10

10

10

00

0t

1t Au

u tA

u tA

Au

0,1 0

0 0,1

1

10

100

1000

10000

Tonnage (Mt) World 30t (70) Canada (128)

FIG. 5: Tonnage vs grade chart of Canadian and world-class-size (>/=100 t Au) world deposits.

higher than the average for this type of deposit around the world (7,63 g/t) (Fig. 5). In Canada, the Discovery and Campbell-Red Lake deposits have the highest average grades at 34 g/t and 23 g/t Au, respectively. The Goldcorp High-grade Zone is part of the Campbell-Red lake deposit and has an average production grade of 88 g/t Au since the beginning of its extraction (Dubé et al., 2002). World-class deposits in Canada have on average lower tonnage (20,91 Mt of ore) then those the worldwide (39,91 Mt). Mining in Canada has traditionally taken place underground, whereas in other countries open pits are used more frequently. Exploration Properties Of Deposit Type Physical Properties Mineralogy The main gangue minerals are quartz and carbonate (calcite, dolomite, ankerite and siderite) with variable amounts of white micas, chlorite, scheelite and tourmaline. The sulphide minerals typically constitute less than 10% of the ore. The main ore minerals are native gold with pyrite pyrrhotite chalcopyrite without any significant vertical mineral zoning. Arsenopyrite commonly represents the main sulphide in terranes at amphibolite facies of metamorphism (ex: Con, Giant and Campbell-Red Lake deposits). Trace amounts of molybdenite and tellurides are also present in some deposits such as those hosted by syenite in Kirkland Lake (Thompson et al., 1950) (Fig. 6). Textures Moderately to steeply dipping shear-zone-hosted laminated fault-fill quartz-carbonate veins in brittle-ductile shear zones, with or without fringing shallow-dipping extensional veins and breccias, characterize this type of gold deposit (Fig. 7). Textures of the quartz veins vary according 4

Dubé and Gosselin, 2005

Dubé and Gosselin, 2005
FIG. 6: A. Quartz-breccia vein, Main Break, Kirkland Lake; B. High-grade quartz veinlets, hosted by syenite, with visible gold, disseminated pyrite and traces of tellurides, Main Break, Kirkland Lake.

Greenstone Gold Synthesis
A
B

15 cm

C

D

15 cm

3m

E

F

12 cm

FIG. 7: A. Laminated fault fill veins, Pamour mine, Timmins ; B. Closed up laminated fault fill veins showing iron-carbonatized wall rock clasts.; C. Boudinaged fault-fill vein, section view, Dome mine; D. Arrays of extensional quartz vein , Pamour mine; E. Extensional quartz-tourmaline "flat vein" showing multiple stages of mineral growth perpendicular to vein walls, Sigma mine (from Poulsen et al., 2000); F. Tourmaline-quartz vein, Clearwater deposit, James Bay area.

San Antonio Mine, Robert et al., 1994; Robert and Poulsen, 2001). Due to the complexity of the geological and structural setting and the influence of strength anisotropy and competency contrasts, the geometry of the vein network varies from simple such as the Silidor deposit, Canada, to more commonly fairly complex with multiple orientations of anastomosing and/or conjugate sets of veins, breccias, stockworks and associated structures (Dubé et al., 1989; Hodgson, 1989, Robert et al., 1994, Robert and Poulsen, 2001). Arsenopyrite-rich auriferous silicification of low grade to barren carbonate±quartz veins is the main host of the Campbell-Red Lake deposit (Figs. 8) (Penczak and Mason, 1997; Tarnocai, 2000; Dubé et al., 2001b, 2002). Ore-grade mineralization also occurs as disseminated sulphides in altered (carbonatized) rocks along vein selvages. Ore shoots are commonly controlled by: 1) the intersections between different veins or host structures, or between an auriferous structures and an especially reactive and/or competent rock type such as iron-rich gabbro (geometric ore shoot); or 2) the slip vector of the controlling structure(s) (kinematic ore shoot). For laminated fault-fill veins, the kinematic ore shoot will be oriented at a high angle to the slip vector (Robert et al., 1994; Robert and Poulsen, 2001). The world-class and giant deposits commonly exhibit a complex geometry mainly due to multistage barren and/or gold-bearing hydrothermal, structural and magmatic events (e.g. Dome Mine in Timmins Ontario, Campbell-Red Lake deposit in Red Lake). Host rocks The veins are hosted by a wide variety of host rock types including all the lithologies present in the local environment, but especially mafic and ultramafic volcanic rocks and competent iron-rich tholeiitic gabbroic sills and granitoid intrusions of Archean age. However, there are commonly district-specific lithological associations acting as chemical and/or structural traps for the fluid (e.g. Golden mile dolerite sill in Kalgoorlie Australia, Balmer basalt in Red Lake, Canada). Some deposits are also hosted by and/or centered within or next to intrusive complexes (e.g. syenite porphyry complex in Kirkland Lake, Canada).

the vein network could extend to 1-2 km in its longest dimension (vertical). The laminated quartz-carbonate veins are commonly infilling the central part of, and are sub-parallel to slightly oblique to, the host structures (Hodgson, 1989; Robert et al., 1994; Robert and Poulsen, 2001) (Fig. 9). The shallow-dipping extensional veins are either confined within the shear zones, in which case they are relatively small and sigmoidal in shape, or they extend outside the shear zone and are planar and laterally much more extended (Robert et al., 1994). Stockworks and hydrothermal breccias may represent the main host to the mineralization when developed in competent units such as granophyric facies of gabbroic sills (e.g.

A
Amphiboles

Arsenopyrite replacement Biotite alteration Visible gold

B

Basalt Carbonate vein

Silica replacement
4 cm 6 cm

FIG. 8: A. High-grade zone showing a silicified carbonate vein with visible gold and arsenopyrite-rich replacement of the host basalt, Red Lake Mine, Red Lake; B. High-grade vein from Campbell Mine, Red Lake, showing a clast of collofrm carbonate vein within a highly silicified and arsenopyrite-rich breccia.

5

Benoît Dubé and Patrice Gosselin

X

SLIP PLANE

FOLIATION

STAGE II FILLING

Z Y
(B-AXIS) STAGE I FILLING FAULT-FILL VEIN EXTENSIONAL VEIN

FIG. 9: Schematic diagram illustrating geometric relationships between structural element of veins and shear zones and deposit scale strain axes (from Robert, 1990).

Chemical Properties Ore chemistry The metallic signature of the ore is Au, Ag, As, W, B, Mo Sb, typically with no or very low concentration of base metals (Cu, Pb, Zn). There is no vertical metallic zoning. The Au/Ag ratio typically varies from 5 to 10. Alteration mineralogy/chemistry: At the district scale, the greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate-vein deposits are associated with large-scale carbonate alteration commonly distributed along major fault zones and associated subsidiary structures (Fig. 10A, B). At the deposit scale, the nature, distribution and intensity of the wall-rock alteration is largely controlled by the composition and competence of the host rocks and their metamorphic grade. Typically, the alteration haloes are zoned and characterized - at greenschist facies - by iron-carbonatization and
A B

sericitization, with sulphidation of the immediate vein selvages (mainly pyrite, less commonly arsenopyrite). Chemically, altered rocks show an enrichment in CO2, K2O and S and leaching of Na2O. Further away from the vein the alteration is characterized by various amounts of chlorite and calcite and sometimes magnetite. The dimensions of the alteration haloes vary with the composition of the host rocks and may envelope entire deposits hosted by mafic and ultramafic rocks. Pervasive green micas (fuchsite, roscoelite) and ankerite with quartz-carbonate stockwork is common in sheared ultramafics (Fig. 10C, D). In amphibolite facies rocks common hydrothermal alteration assemblages associated with gold mineralization contain biotite, amphibole, pyrite, pyrrhotite, and arsenopyrite and at higher grade, biotite/phlogopite, diopside, garnet, pyrrhotite and/or arsenopyrite (cf. Mueller and Groves, 1991; Witt, 1991; Hagemann and Cassidy, 2000; Ridley et al., 2000 and references therein) with variable proportions of feldspar, calcite and clinozoisite (Fig. 11). The variations in alteration styles have been interpreted as a direct reflection of the depth of formation of the deposits (Groves, 1993). The mineralogy of the amphibolite facies deposits (diopside, K-feldspar, garnet, staurolite, andalusite, actinolite) implies that they are by definition skarn-like deposits. Canadian examples of such amphibolite facies deposit include the replacement style Madsen deposit in Red Lake (Dubé et al. 2000, 2001b) and the quartz-tourmaline vein and replacement style Eau Claire deposit in the James Bay area (Cadieux, 2000). Geological Properties Continental scale Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate-vein deposits typically occur in deformed greenstone terranes of all ages, especially those with commonly variolitic tholeiitic basalts (Fig. 12A) and ultramafic komatiitic flows intruded by intermediate to felsic porphyry intrusions, and sometimes swarms of albitite or lamprophyre dykes (ex: Timmins and Red Lake districts) (Fig. 12B). The deposits are associated with collisional or accretionary orogenic events (cf. Kerrich
A B

1m

10 cm

4 cm

C

D

C

10 cm

FIG. 10: A. Large boudinaged iron-carbonate vein, Red Lake district; B. Iron carbonate pervasive replacement of an iron-rich gabbroic sill, Tadd prospect, Chibougamau; C. Green-carbonate rock showing fuchsite-rich replacement and iron-carbonate veining in a highly deformed ultramafic rock, Larder Lake; D. Green carbonate alteration showing abundant green micas replacing chromite-rich ultramafics, Baie Verte, Newfoundland.

FIG. 11: A. Diopside vein in a biotite-actinolite-microcline rich gold-bearing alteration, Madsen mine, Red Lake; B. auriferous metasomatic hydrothermal layering with actinolite-rich and biotite-microcline rich bands, Madsen mine, Red lake. C. Gold-rich no. 8 vein showing visible gold in a carbonate-actinolite-diopside-rich vein, Madsen mine, Red Lake.

6

Greenstone Gold Synthesis
A B

15 cm

20 cm

C C

D

22 cm

All world-class greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits are hosted by greenschist facies rocks. The only exceptions are Campbell-Red Lake (Canada) and Kolar (India) at amphibolite facies. The greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits are also commonly spatially associated with Timiskaminglike regional unconformities (Fig. 15). Several deposits are hosted by (e.g. Pamour and Dome deposit in Timmins) or located next to such a Timiskaming-like regional unconformity (Campbell-Red Lake deposit in Red Lake) (Dubé et al., 2003, in press), suggesting an empirical time and space relationship between large-scale greenstone quartz-carbonate gold deposits and regional unconformities (Hodgson, 1993; Robert, 2000; Dubé et al., 2003). District scale: In this section, some of the key geological characteristics of prolific gold districts are presented. The list is far from complete as to the definite reasons why a district like Timmins contains such a large number of world class gold deposits or why the gold grade in the Red Lake district is overall so high. Only a brief overview is presented here, the reader is referred to key papers such as Hodgson and MacGeehan (1982), Hodgson (1993), Robert and Poulsen (1997), Hagemann and Cassidy (2000), Poulsen et al. (2000), and Groves et al. (2001) among others for more information.
A B

FIG. 12: A. Variolitic basalt, Vipond Formation, Timmins; B. Lamprophyre dyke cross-cutting ankerite vein, Campbell Mine, Red Lake; C. Mylonitic foliation, Cadillac -Larder Lake Break, Val D'Or; D. Close-up showing mylonitioc foliation within Cadillac-Larder Lake break, Val D'Or.

et al., 2000 and references therein). They are typically distributed along reverse-oblique crustal-scale major fault zones, commonly marking the convergent margins between major lithological boundaries such as volcano-plutonic and sedimentary domains (ex: Cadillac-Larder Lake fault) (Figs. 3 and 12C-D). These major structures are characterized by different increments of strain, and consequently several generations of steeply dipping foliations and folds resulting in a fairly complex geological collisional setting. The crustalscale faults are thought to represent the main hydrothermal pathways towards higher crustal level. However, the deposits are spatially and genetically associated with higherorder compressional reverse-oblique to oblique brittle-ductile high-angle shear zones (Fig. 13) commonly located less than 5 km away and best developed in the hanging wall of the major fault (Robert, 1990). Brittle faults may also be the main host to mineralization as illustrated by the Kirkland Lake Main Break; a brittle structure hosting the 25 M oz Au Kirkland Lake deposit (Fig. 14). The deposits formed typically late in the tectonic-metamorphic history of the greenstone belts (Groves et al., 2000) and the mineralization is syn- to late-deformation and typically post-peak greenschist facies and syn-peak amphibolite facies metamorphism (cf. Kerrich and Cassidy, 1994; Hagemann and Cassidy, 2000).
A B

2m

50 cm

FIG. 14: A. Section view showing the 25 M oz Kirkland Lake Main Break; B. Closed up showing the Kirkland Lake Main Break in section view, note the brittle nature of the structure.

15 cm

10 cm

C

10 cm

FIG. 13 : A, B & C. Section view showing auriferous quartz vein hosted by a second-order reverse shear zone, Cooke mine, Chapais, Quebec (from Dubé and Guha, 1992).

Greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate-vein deposits are essentially structurally controlled epigenetic hydrothermal deposits. Large gold camps are typically located in greenschist facies Archean greenstone belts and are commonly associated with curvatures, flexures and dilational jogs along major compressionnal fault zones such as the DestorPorcupine fault in Timmins or the Larder Lake-Cadillac fault in Kirkland Lake, which have created dilational zones where the hydrothermal fluids were drained (Fig. 3). In terms of stratigraphical settings, several gold districts such as Red Lake or Timmins are characterized by presence of variolitic tholeiitic basalts and ultramafic komatiitic flows intruded by intermediate to felsic porphyry intrusions, and sometimes swarms of albitite or lamprophyre dykes. Timiskaming-like regional unconformities distributed along major faults or stratigraphical discontinuities are also typical characteristics. In terms of hydrothermal alteration, the main characteristic is the presence of large scale iron-carbonate alteration which gives some indication on the size of the hydrothermal system(s). Protracted magmatic activity with syn-volcanic and syn-to late tectonic intrusions emplaced along structural dis7

Benoît Dubé and Patrice Gosselin
A B

10 cm

25 cm

C

D

10 cm

10 cm

FIG. 15: A. Timiskaming conglomerate, Kirkland Lake ; B. Mineralized quartz veins hosted by Timiskaming conglomerate, Pamour mine, Timmins; C. Mineralized quartz vein hosted by Timiskaming conglomerate, Kirkland Lake; D. Huston assemblage conglomerate, Red Lake.

continuities (e.g. Timmins) or surrounding the district (e.g. Red Lake district) appears to be key empirical factors. In many cases, the U-Pb dating of these intrusive rocks indicated that they are older than the mineralization. They have then mainly acted as competent structural trap or induced an anisotropy in the layered stratigraphy which have influenced and partitioned the strain. In other cases, the intrusive rocks are post mineralization. However, it remains possible that the thermal energy provided by these intrusions may have contributed to large-scale hydrothermal fluid circulation. Presence of other deposit types in the district such as VMS or Ni-Cu deposits is also commonly thought to be a favorable factor (heritage) (cf. Hodgson, 1993). Knowledge gaps One of the main remaining knowledge gap is the tectonic significance and structural evolution of the large scale faults which control the distribution of the greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate-vein deposits. As an example, despite decades of work, the exact location and structural evolution of the Destor-Porcupine Fault in the Timmins district, and its relationship to gold mineralization, remain largely to be established. As well, such a district-scale fault controlling the distribution of the major gold deposits in the Red Lake district remains to be found unless the Cochenour-Gullrock Lake deformation zone (Red Lake Mine trend) (Andrews et al., 1986; Zhang et al., 1997; Dubé et al., 2001a, 2002, 2003) and/or the regional unconformity between the Mesoarchean Balmer and the Neoarchean Confederation assemblages (Sanborn-Barrie et al., 2000, 2001, 2002; Dubé et al., 2003, in press) are marking such a crustal structure. Deposit scale The localization of higher grade mineralization (ore shoot) within a deposit is the subject of investigation since the early works of Newhouse (1942) and McKinstry (1948). Ore shoots represent a critical element to take into account to define and follow the richest part of the orebody. Two broad 8

categories of ore shoots are recognized: 1-geometric and 2kinematic (Poulsen and Robert, 1989; Robert et al., 1994). As proposed by Poulsen and Robert (1989), geometric ore shoots are controlled by the intersection of a given structure (such as a fault, a shear zone, or a vein) with a favorable lithological unit as a competent gabbroic sill, a dike, an ironformation or a particularly reactive rock. The ore shoot defined will be parallel to the line of intersection. The kinematic oreshoots are syn-deformation and syn-formation of the veins and are defined by the intersection between different sets of veins or contemporaneous structures. The plunge of kinematic ore shoots are commonly at high angle to the slip direction. Structural traps such as fold hinges or dilational jogs along faults or shear zones are also key elements in locating the richest part of an orebody. However, multiple parameters are commonly involved in the formation of the richest part of an orebody. For example, at the Red Lake Mine, several parameters are believed to have played a key role in the formation of the extremely rich High-grade Zone (Dubé et al., 2002), including: 1-the F2 fold hinge deforming the basalt and komatiitic basalt contact; 2-the carbonatized komatiitic basalt located in the F2 antiform, which acted as a low permeability cap; 3-the iron-rich content of the tholeiitic basalt that allowed precipitation of the arsenopyrite and gold by reaction with the fluids; 4-the more competent nature of the host basalt; 5-several increments of D2 strain; and 6-a new stage of gold mineralization or gold remobilization in extremely-rich fractures that postdated the emplacement of lamprophyre dykes.
A B

10 cm

15 cm

C

D

30 cm

10 cm

E

F

3 cm

30 cm

FIG. 16: A. Boudinaged ankerite vein, with late quartz veins, cross-cutting the Paymaster porphyry, Dome Mine; B. Boudinaged ankerite veins with syn-deformation late extensional quartz veins, Dome mine; C. Massive ankerite Kurst vein cut by late gold-bearing extensional quartz vein, Dome mine area; D. Ankerite vein clast within Timiskaming conglomerate, Dome mine (from Dubé et al., 2003); E. Close-up of D (from Dubé et al., 2003); F. Deformed quartz vein hosted by folded Timiskaming argillites, Dome mine.

Greenstone Gold Synthesis
Table 1 District Timmins Kirkland Lake Val d'Or Rouyn-Noranda Larder Lake Malartic Joutel Matheson Cadillac Red Lake Pickle Lake Rice Lake BeardmoreGeraldton Michipicoten Mishibishu GoudreauLolshcach Flin Flon Lynn Lake La Ronge Keewatin Yellowknife MacKenzie Cassiar Baie Verte As of December 31, 2002 Geological Province Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Abitibi Superior/Uchi Superior/Uchi Superior/Uchi Superior/Wabigoon Superior/Wawa Superior/Wawa Superior/Wawa Churchill Churchill Churchill Churchill-Hearne Slave Slave Cordillera Appalachian/Dunnage Prod.+Reserves (tonnes Au) 2,072.9 794.8 638.9 519.6 378.7 278.7 61.4 60.4 22.1 834.5 90.4 51.6 123.5 41.1 26.7 8.8 62.2 19.5 3.4 7.2 432.8 38.1 14.9 10.3 Resources (tonnes Au) 78.5 72.6 171.6 66.5 14.5 686.8 27.5 9.7 25.1 153.3 8.1 25.2 35.1 2.8 16.8 19.6 12.7 14.6 5.6 252.4 16.6 286.6 55.4 8.9

16A). These ankerite veins have been deformed; they are typically boudinaged and cut by extensional en echelon auriferous quartz veins (Fig. 16B-C). As reported in Dubé et al. (2003), the ankerite veins are also present as clasts within the 2679 ± 4 Ma Timiskaming conglomerate (Ayer et al., 2003) (Fig. 16 D-E) in the open pit, whereas the argillite and sandstone above the Timiskaming conglomerate are themselves cut by folded auriferous quartz veins (Dubé et al., 2003) (Fig. 16F). These chronological relationships clearly illustrate the superimposed hydrothermal and structural events involved in the formation of the deposit with postmagmatism carbonate veining, but pre-deposition of the Timiskaming conglomerate. The latter is pre-formation of the bulk of the auriferous quartz vein mined in the open pit.

Distribution Of Canadian Metallogenetic Districts

As mentionned by Groves et al. (2003), several hydrothermal events are sometimes superimposed and have probably played a key role in the formation of giant gold deposit. This is especially well illustrated at the giant Dome mine in Timmins, where low grade ankerite veins cut across the 2690 Ma Paymaster porphyry (Corfu et al., 1989) (Fig.

The most productive metallogenetic districts for greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits are centered on (Late) Archean greenstone belts of the Superior, Churchill and Slave provinces (Table 1). Key features of these Canadian districts are: 1) presence of ultramafic-mafic volcanic rocks (including variolitic basalts); 2) major compressional crustal-scale fault; 3) presence of competent intrusions; 4) district-wide zones of carbonate alteration; and 5) presence of a regional Timiskaming-like unconformity. Other important features include: I) curves, bends and dila-

FIG. 17: Location of Canadian greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein districts

9

Benoît Dubé and Patrice Gosselin tional jogs in the major crustal-scale fault; II) metamorphism not higher than amphibolite grade; III) size of the greenstone belt (smaller belts lost in intrusive and highly metamorphosed rocks, are yet to be proven as productive as larger ones); and IV) well-developed set of subsidiary faults and shears near the major crustal-scale fault. The Abitibi greenstone belt (Superior Province) regroups the majority of productive districts, including the very large Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, RouynNoranda and Val d'Or districts. Others, more recent greenstone belts of the Appalachian and Cordilleran orogens, are also favorable terrains for gold deposits of the greenstonehosted quartz-carbonate vein type (figure 17). Districts listed in table 1 also include deposits of the iron formation-hosted vein and disseminated sub-type (Homestake-type). They are typically formed in similar geological settings and at similar crustal depths (Fig. 1). Temporal distribution of world-class-size (>30t Au) greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposits is illustrated in figure 2. The greatest concentration of deposits is found during the Archean, and particularly during the Late Archean period (Fig. 17). Mesozoic and Cenozoic deposits are rarer but have been known to occur in recent collisional orogenic belts (e.g. Mother Lode-Alleghany districts, Mesozoic, and Alaska-Juneau-Treadwell deposits, Cenozoic, USA). The total tonnage and average grade of Canadian deposits appears significantly smaller and larger, respectively, than the total tonnage and grade of world deposits. This discrepancy diminishes when one eliminates the giant Golden Mile deposit (Australia) and its 914 Mtonnes of ore at an average of 1,99 g/t. However, the average grade of Canadian Archean deposits still remains ~2 g/t higher than other world deposits. Proterozoic gold deposits occur in greenstone belts of Brazil, western Africa and China, whereas deposits of this age are noticeably few in Canada but for the New Britannia deposit in the Flin Flon district (Manitoba), and other smaller deposits of the Churchill Province. The lone world-class Mesozoic Canadian deposit represented in figure 17 is the Bralorne-Pioneer deposit (British Columbia). Other smaller deposits (unrepresented on this figure) were also formed in the Cordilleran during the Mesozoic, and during Paleozoic times in the Appalachians. Additionally, three important unexploited deposits (as of December 31, 2001) outside of represented districts are noted on figure 17. These are: 1) Hope Bay (Hope Bay district, 134 t Au in unmined resources) 2) Moss Lake (Shebandowan district, 66 t Au) 3) Box (Athabaska district, 29 t Au) The following deposits are located inside districts represented on figure 15 but also contain important un-mined resources (as of December 31, 2001) : 1) Tundra (Mackenzie district, 185 t Au in unmined resources) 2) Goldex (Val d'Or district, 57 t Au) 3) Taurus (Cassiar district, 50 t Au) Genetic/Exploration Models As indicated in Poulsen et al. (2000), one of the main problem in deformed and metamorphosed terranes such as greenstone belts is that the primary characteristics may have been largely obscured by overprinting deformation and metamorphism to an extent that they are difficult to recognize. This is particularly the case with gold-rich VMS or epithermal deposits. But since quartz-carbonate greenstonehosted are syn- to late main phase of deformation, their primary features are in most cases relatively well preserved. Consequently, once a deposit is appropriately classified, exploration models for that type of gold deposits are relatively well defined (cf. Hodgson, 1990, 1993; Groves et al., 2000, 2003). Academic work done since the early eighties have proposed several different genetic models to explain the formation of these deposits and have raised significant controversy. A portion of this controversy was induced by mis-classification of certain key deposits, such as Hemlo, as mesothermal or lode gold deposits. This is why the task of developing an adequate classification of gold deposits is a key framework in developing exploration models (Poulsen et al., 2000). An excellent review of the various genetic models proposed and the pros and cons of each of them has been presented by Kerrich and Cassidy (1994). Since then, Hagemann and Cassidy (2000), Kerrich et al. (2000), Ridley and Diamond (2000), Groves et al. (2003), and Goldfarb et al. (in press), among others, have also revisited the subject. Only a brief summary is presented here. Several genetic models have been proposed during the last two decades without a definite consensus. One of the main controversy is related to the source of the fluids. The ore forming fluid is typically a 1.5 ± 0.5 kbars, 350° ± 50°C, low-salinity H2O-CO2 ± CH4 ± N2 fluid which transported gold as a reduced sulfur complex (Groves et al., 2003). Several authors have emphasized a deep source for gold and fluids related to crustal or metamorphic devolatilization and deposition of gold in a continuum of crustal levels (cf. Colvine et al., 1989; Powell et al., 1991; Groves et al., 1995). Others have proposed a magmatic source (cf. Spooner, 1991), a mantle-related model (Rock and Groves, 1988), passage of a crustal plate over a mantle plume (Kontak and Archibald, 2002), anomalous thermal conditions associated to upwelling asthenosphere (Kerrich et al., 2000), or deep convection of meteoric fluids (Nesbitt et al., 1986). Hutchinson (1993) has proposed a multi-stage, multi-process genetic hypothesis where gold is recycled from pre-enriched source rocks and early formed, perhaps subeconomic gold deposits. Hodgson (1993) also proposed a multi-stage model where gold was, at least in part, recycled from gold-rich district-scale reservoirs that resulted from earlier increments of gold enrichment. The debate was largely alimented by stable isotopes geochemistry and more than two decades later, it remains rather impossible (from the isotopic data) to distinguish between a fluid of metamorphic, magmatic or mantle origin (Goldfarb et al., in press). The major involvement of meteoric waters in the formation of quartz-carbonate greenstone-hosted gold deposits is now viewed to be unlikely (Goldfarb et al., in press). Largely based on spatial relationships between the deposits and intrusive rocks, the magmat-

10

Greenstone Gold Synthesis ic and mantle-related models are challenged by cross-cutting field relationships combined with precise U-Pb zircon dating showing that in most cases, the proposed magmatic source for the fluid is significantly older than the quartz-carbonates veins. One such example is from the Timmins area where the quartz-carbonate veins hosting the gold mineralization at the Hollinger-McIntyre deposit cut across albitite dyke dated at 2673 +6/-2 Ma (Marmont and Corfu, 1989), themselves 1520 Ma younger than the various porphyries in the regions ranging in ages from 2691 ± 33 Ma to 2688 ± 2 Ma (Corfu et al., 1989; Ayer et al., 2003). These chronological relationships rule out the possibility that the fluid responsible for the mineralization could be related to known intrusions. An alternate model to the magmatic source model is a model where the intrusions have provided the thermal energy responsible, at least in part, for fluid circulation (cf. Wall, 1989). The mantle-related model was largely based on the spatial relationship between lamprophyre dykes and gold deposits (Rock and Groves, 1988). Key arguments against such a model have been presented by Wyman and Kerrich (1988, 1989). Recently, Dubé et al. (in press) have demonstrated that the lamprophyre dykes spatially associated with the mineralization at the Campbell-Red Lake deposit are 10 Ma younger than the main stage of gold mineralization. Each of these models have merit, and various aspects of all or some of them are potentially involved in the formation of quartz-carbonate greenstone-hosted gold deposits in metamorphic terranes. It is largely believed that the greenstone-hosted quartzcarbonate vein deposits are related to metamorphic fluids from accretionary processes and generated by prograde metamorphism and thermal re-equilibration of subducted volcano-sedimentary terranes. The deep-seated, Au-transporting metamorphic fluid has been channelled to higher crustal levels through major crustal faults or deformation zones (Fig. 18). Along its pathway, the fluid has dissolved various components - notably gold - from the volcano-sedimentary packages, including a potential gold-rich precursor, which will then precipitate as vein material or wallrock replacement in second and third order structures at higher crustal levels through fluid-pressure cycling process and temperature, pH and other physico-chemical variations. However, the source of the ore fluid, and hence of gold in orogenic deposits, remains unresolved (Ridley and Diamond, 2000). According to Ridley and Diamond (2000), a model based on either metamorphic devolitilization or granitoid magmatism fits best most of the geological parameters. These authors indicated that the magmatic model could not be ruled out simply on the basis that no exposed granite in proximity of the deposit has the right age, because the full sub-surface architecture of the crust is unknown. Ridley and Diamond (2000) also indicated that the fluid composition should not be expected to reflect the source. The fluid travels great distances and its measured composition now reflects the fluid-rock interactions along its pathway, or a mixed signature of the source and the wall rocks (Ridley and Diamond, 2000). In terms of exploration, at the geological province or terrane scale, geological parameters that are common in highly fertile volcano-sedimentary belts include: 1-reactivated crustal-scale fault that focused porphyry-lamprophyre dyke swarms; 2-complex regional-scale geometry of mixed lithostratigraphic packages; and 3-evidence for multiple mineralization or remobilization events (Groves et al., 2003). The overprinting or remobilization was clearly a key factor in the formation of the exceptionally rich Goldcorp High-Grade Zone of the Campbell-Red Lake deposit (Dubé et al., 2002; in press). The empirical spatial and genetic (?) relationship between large gold deposits and Timiskaming-like regional unconformity represents a key first order exploration target as illustrated by districts such as Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Red Lake (Hodgson, 1993; Robert., 2000; Dubé et al., 2000, 2003 and in press). Knowledge gaps Several outstanding problems remain for quartz-carbonate greenstone-hosted deposits. As mentioned above, the sources of fluid and gold remain unresolved (Ridley and Diamond, 2000). Other critical elements are listed in Hagemann and Cassidy (2000) and Groves et al. (2003). In practical terms, the authors believe that the two most outstanding knowledge gaps to be addressed are: 1-better define the key geological parameters controlling the formation of giant gold deposits; and 2-what controls the high-grade content of deposits or part of deposits. The classification of gold deposit types remain a problem which is more than academic, as it has a major impact on exploration strategies (e.g. what type of deposit to look for, where, and how?) (cf. Poulsen et al., 2000). Why geological provinces such as the Superior and Yilgarn are so richly endowed also remains unclear. It is also believed that integrated study such as Extech or Natmap; where various aspects of the geology of a gold mining district or camp are addressed; remain the best approach. The most fundamental elements to take into account to succeed in addressing these questions remain: 1) basic chronological field relationships, combined with 2) accurate U-Pb geochronology in order to establish the definite chronological evolution between mineralizing event(s) and deformation/metamorphism phase(s).

SETTING OF GREENSTONE GOLD DEPOSITS
TURBIDITE-hosted VEIN WACKE-SHALE GREENSTONE-hosted VEIN

HOMESTAKE TYPE SULPHIDE BODY VOLCANIC

3

BRITTLEDUCTILE ZONE
1

IRON-FORMATION GRANITOID

SHEAR ZONE

FIG. 18: Schematic diagram illustrating the setting of greenstone-hosted quartz-carbonate vein deposit (from Poulsen et al., 2000).

11

Benoît Dubé and Patrice Gosselin References
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Greenstone Gold Synthesis
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