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Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

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Multi-element association analysis of stream sediment geochemistry data

for predicting gold deposits in Barramiya gold mine, Eastern Desert, Egypt
Hassan Z. Harraz a,, Mohamed M. Hamdy a, Mohamed H. El-Mamoney b
Geology Department, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, 31527 Tanta, Egypt
National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Alexandria, Egypt

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The use of traditional statistical methods can provide suitable indicators of geochemical element disper-
Received 22 September 2011 sion, and aids in targeting potential areas for mineral exploration. Analyzes of stream sediments from an
Received in revised form 19 March 2012 ophiolite suite of ophiolitic mlange matrix and metasediments belt are used for regional geochemical
Accepted 20 March 2012
prospecting of gold in the Barramiya mining district, Eastern Desert, Egypt. The principal rocks exposed
Available online 13 April 2012
in the study area are Late-Proterozoic volcano-sedimentary sequences intruded by serpentinite, small
bodies of Older and Younger Granitoids, all injected by dykes of various compositions. Gold production
derived mainly from shear zone with Au-bearing quartz veins hosted by ultramac schists and serpenti-
Surcial dispersion of Au
Stream sediment survey
nites at fault intersections or along the basal dcollement of the major thrusts, especially where granitoid
R-mode factor analysis massifs and stocks are common. Orebodies are mainly sulde-bearing quartz and quartzcarbonate lodes
Principal component analysis associated with graphite-schist, listvenite and marble exposures, showing signs of structural control
Multi-element association geochemistry expressed in preferable orientation and consistent meso- and microfabrics. The area has two known gold
Gold deposits where several chromite mines are present. Auriferous veins are conned along E and ENE frac-
ture systems and zones in a passive tectonic contact between the serpentinites and the metasediments.
Results of 425 stream sediment samples from an area of 73 km2 analyzed for 13 trace elements are
presented using simple statistical and R-mode factor methods. The overall sample density achieved by
the survey is 6 samples/km2. Signicant variations in background metal contents are recorded near
the known mineralized sites. Preliminary visual interpretation of individual spatial distribution patterns
of Ag, As, Au, Cu, Mo, Pb, and W show clear-cut relationships with known gold mineralization in the study
area. Geochemical patterns of these elements delineate drainage basins with anomalous concentration of
elements genetically related to gold mineralization. Gold in analyzed samples ranges from <0.02 to
3.51 ppm with average 0.21 ppm. Most of the high element concentrations in stream sediments are found
in the graphite-schist and serpentinized marble rocks.
Application of R-mode factor analysis indicates signicant components of the sample composition.
These reect lithological, environmental and mineralization controls. Preparation of factor score map
for the association AgAuAsCuZnPbMoW enables a more precise delineation of zones of known
gold mineralization as well as areas that may contain (on geological grounds) primary gold mineraliza-
tion. The exploration signicance of some anomalies has not been established, but a number of these
anomalies may be related to undiscovered mineralization while others may be of no economic signi-
cance. Groundwater pH inuences the hydromorphic dispersion patterns of Ag, As, and Au in different
ways and this requires consideration during data interpretation.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction methodology has been (1) to determine gold in heavy mineral

concentrates; (2) to use large samples in order to improve the repro-
Conventionally, geochemical exploration for gold is based on the ducibility of gold analyzes; (3) to use high detection limits and
assumptions that (1) gold is chemically inert in surcial environ- thresholds; and (4) to determine total gold contents and pathnder
ments; (2) gold occurs mainly in discrete grains; and (3) gold is elements. However, these methods are not always successful in
transferred by mechanical means to form elastic dispersion halos locating gold deposits, and they have limited application in the
and dispersion trains. Consequently, the commonly adopted search for buried or blind deposits (Cloke and Kelly, 1964; Lakin
et al., 1974; Carver et al., 1987; Nichol et al., 1989; Fletcher and
Corresponding author.
Wolcott, 1991; Zeegers and Leduc, 1993; Melo and Fletcher, 1999).
In Egypt, studies of the distribution and migration of particulate and
E-mail address: (H.Z. Harraz).

1464-343X/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2 H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

ultrane gold indicate that (1) gold is active and mobile in surcial ultramac schists and serpentinites at fault intersections or along
environments; (2) gold occurs not only as discrete grains, but also as the basal dcollement of the major thrusts, especially where granit-
ultrane particles; and (3) regional low-concentration gold anoma- oid massifs and stocks are common. The Barramiya district in central
lies as well as local anomalies over buried gold deposits originate Eastern Desert of Egypt hosts several gold occurrences with gold-
from ultrane gold and other complex forms of gold (Bugrov, bearing quartz veins mostly situated along the eastnortheast-
1974; Salpeteur and Sabir, 1989; Harraz et al., 2001). trending BarramiyaUm Salatit ophiolitic belt. The Barramiya
This study interprets results of a geochemical drainage survey deposit is considered as a vein-type goldarsenic mineralization,
carried out during the period 20042005 covering most of the close to chromite, magnesite and antimony ores (Sabet and Bondon-
drainage system at the Barramiya gold mine area (73 km2, osov, 1984). Worked orebodies are mainly sulde-bearing quartz
Fig. 1), where 425 samples of stream sediment were analyzed for and quartzcarbonate lodes associated with graphite-schist, listve-
Ag, As, Au, Co, Cr, Cu, Li, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sn, W and Zn. In this approach, nite and marble exposures, showing signs of structural control
the surcial dispersion of Au and various elements in wadi sedi- expressed in preferable orientation and consistent meso- and
ments in close proximity of shear zone with Au-bearing quartz micro-fabrics. Gold was probably produced in the pre-Dynastic
veins is determined to dene or rene exploration efforts. More- and Roman periods and later. The Barramiya gold deposit comprises
over, drainage basins with anomalous metal contents are delin- four veins namely: the Main Lode, the Taylor,s Reef, the Counter
eated (visualized) to recognize any additional subtle though Lode and the new Counter Lode, all extensively worked for many
important geochemical patterns that may exist in the area. years. They were not completely exhausted and still contain valu-
The study area is a part of Barramiya region in central Eastern able reserves. Depth of the excavations varied between <40 and
Desert of Egypt (Fig. 1). For several decades the Barramiya area 76 m, and the Au content ranged from <0.1 to 31 g/t, with the Ag/
was widely known for its substantial gold production, derived Au ratio 1:4.6 (Hume, 1937, p. 791). The mine was abandoned at
mainly from shear zone with Au-bearing quartz veins hosted by the end 1918 due to increased costs of mining operation, transport

Fig. 1. General geologic map of Barramiya gold mine area (modied from Shukri and Lot, 1955; EGSMA, 1992; Gad and Kusky, 2006; Zoheir and Lehmann, 2011).
H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114 3

problems, and low gold price (Gabbra, 1986). More than 1.8 million These masses are parts of an ophiolite suite and usually there is
tons of gold ore grading 2.8 g/t Au reserves are estimated in the mine a passive tectonic contact between serpentinites and metasedi-
(Gabbra, 1986). In addition, 318500 tons of tailings and dumps ments (Shackelton et al., 1980; Azer and Stern, 2007).
with 3.15 g/t gold are stock-piled in three sites (Centamin Egypt Deformed gabbro-diorite rocks cut the ophiolitic mlange
Ltd., 2000). According to Pharaoh Gold Mines, Centamin Egypt matrix and metasediments in the central part of the study area.
Limited Co. (2001), the Barramiya gold mine contains multi-million On the other hand, several 10 s km-across intrusions of heteroge-
ounces of gold. neously foliated, syn-orogenic quartzdiorite/granodiorite (i.e.,
Older Granitoids) cut through the ophiolitic rocks in the north-
2. Regional geologic setting western part of the study area. At the mine area, intensively
weathered granite porphyry and elongate (EW) granodiorite
The surveyed area (73 km2, Figs. 1 and 2) comprises Late-Pro- bodies cut the main foliation of the mlange matrix. Discrete elon-
terozoic metasediments intruded by serpentinized ultramac gate bodies of post-orogenic monzogranite and granite porphyry
bodies, small bodies of deformed gabbro-diorite, Older and Youn- (i.e., Younger Granites) are bound to intersection zones of steeply
ger Granites, all injected by dykes of various compositions. The vol- dipping EW and NWSE trending faults. Post-granite dykes
cano-sedimentary sequence occupies 80% of the Barramiya gold including quartz porphyry, rhyolite, dacite and less common basalt
mine area, and are composed dominantly of pelitic and semi- are oriented in different directions in the mine area.
pelitic schists, quartzites and marbles (Shukri and Lot, 1955). The tectonically admixed sedimentary/volcano-sedimentary
These volcano-sedimentary sequences include the following varie- and ophiolitic rocks form the ophiolitic mlange matrix in the area.
ties: graphite-, actinolite-, actinolite-tremolite, chlorite-sericite, Along the thrust zones, talc, magnesite, marble and chromite form
and hematite-sericite-schists. Successions of nely banded veinlets, nodules or irregular pockets in the sheared ultramac
quartzsericite and graphite-bearing quartzo-feldspathic schists rocks and metabasalt. The serpentinite-metasediment zone around
admixed with metagreywacke and siltstone are locally interca- Barramiya gold mine area belongs to the older metasedimentary
lated with numerous lenticular bodies of massive and tectonized gold metallogenic province (Pohl, 1988; Botros, 2002). The ser-
serpentinites (with harzburgite-dunite-matrices), talc-carbonate, pentinite-schist zone is the most important rock unit from the
tremolite-talc schist and listvenite (c.f. El-Bedawi et al., 1983; point of view of its economic potential in this area. The economic
Osman, 1995; Zoheir and Lehmann, 2011). However, the volcano- interest arises from the presence of auriferous quartz in the central
sedimentary sequence is seen fringing the serpentinite masses, part of the area, chromite and magnesite in the northern and
and also as small roof pendants within the serpentinite masses. western parts, as well as talc in the most northeast part of the area.
Serpentinites form huge hilly masses elongated in a general ENE Auriferous quartz and magnesite veins cross-cut talc-carbonate
trend concordant with that of foliation of the ophiolitic mlange rocks, in some places (Hamdy, 2007). Chromite deposits occur
matrix. Therefore, the Barramiya serpentinite belt is a part of an within the serpentinite and associated with the talc-carbonate
island arc system that is highly tectonized in an ENE direction. rocks in lenticular, disseminated, thin veins, banded and nodular

Fig. 2. Drainage network and sample locations (n = 425) of stream sediment over the basement complex, Barramiya area.
4 H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

forms (Ahmed et al., 2001). The podiform nature of the Barramiya distinct stylolitic texture. Most gold-sulde mineralization is con-
chromites is documented by geochemical and mineralogical fea- ned to the stylolitic planes in recrystallized quartz veins, where
tures (Anwar et al., 1969; Azer and Stern, 2007) as well as by the disseminated suldes are associated with a carbonaceous material.
common nodular type of ore. Marbles which are coarse grained However, gold is almost always present in a free state in quartz
metamorphosed calcitic or dolomitic rock are the well representa- gangue with a marked tendency to cluster in close proximity to
tives of metasediments and hosted by sheared and altered alteration zones of carbonatization. The geochemical ability of car-
ophiolitic serpentinized ultramac rocks at the northern and bonaceous materials to absorb suldes and gold was discussed by
northwestern parts of the area, where auriferous and uraniferous Cameron (1979), Liu et al. (1999) and Likhoidov et al. (2007).
marbles (0.982.76 ppm Au, Hamdy and Aly, 2011) were recorded. Earlier investigations (Hume, 1937; Sabet et al., 1976) had dem-
Marble is usually gray to grayish white and occurs in pod-like and onstrated the association of pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, cop-
bedded shapes (58 m thick and up to 100 m long). Their country per oxide and hydroxide, scheelite, molybdenite, and chromite
rocks are made principally of altered serpentinite and sometimes with the Au-mineralization. Zoheir and Lehmann (2011) showed
occur as fragments within marble. The contact between marble that ore minerals disseminated in quartz veins and adjacent wall-
and serpentinite is usually not sharp. At this contact, the serpenti- rocks are mainly arsenopyrite, pyrite and trace amounts of chalco-
nites are usually highly sheared, foliated, sometimes folded, and pyrite, sphalerite, tetrahedrite, pyrrhotite, galena, gersdorfte and
become rich in carbonates, graphite, magnesite, and chlorite, and gold. Partial to complete replacement of arsenopyrite by pyrite
their metamorphism (Pan-African) was retrograde. Peak of meta- and/or marcasite is common. Native gold and goldsilver alloy oc-
morphism was at greenschist facies to form metamorphic dolomite cur as tiny grains along micro-fractures in the quartz veins. Hamdy
and calcite, and tremolite, then went down to the upper and Aly (2011) recorded specks of gold and sulde disseminations
subgreenschist facies forming chlorite (Hamdy and Aly, 2011). in marbles at the northern and northwestern parts of the area
(Fig. 1). Native nuggets (2035 lm) having globule, rod, crescent,
2.1. Gold mineralization and irregular streak shapes occur in pores, vugs, and ssures of
marble. Other secondary phases include uranium minerals (i.e.,
The mineralization is related to quartz and quartzcarbonate autunite, uranophane, carnotite and uranothorite), covellite, chro-
lodes in silicied/carbonatized wallrocks. Gold mineralization mite, hematite, goethite, limonite, bunsenite (NiO), and danbaite
was worked in ancient times from several quartz veins scattered [(CuZn) O], together with an assemblage of accessory minerals
over an area of 24 km2 and mainly cut through graphite- and actin- such as apatite, monazite, allanite, zircon, baddeleyite, halite, and
olite-schists, and highly sheared serpentinites. The auriferous sylvite. Other gangue minerals include sericite/mariposite, rutile,
quartz veins are composed of gray and dark bluish-gray quartz clinopyroxene, amphibole, talc, Fe-carbonate, chlorite, pyrophyl-
containing nely dispersed gold and are conned to ENE long re- lite, kaolinite, and graphite.
gional fracture systems and schistosity planes in metasediments.
Orebodies are mainly sulde-bearing quartz and quartzcarbonate 3. Geomorphology
lodes associated with graphite-schist, listvenite and marble expo-
sures, showing signs of structural control expressed in preferable 3.1. Drainage features
orientation. Orebodies are made up of early bluish/gray quartz
fractured and sealed with a late milky quartz phase, or mainly of The drainage network of the Barramiya gold mine area is stud-
milky quartz with appreciable amounts of Fe-carbonate (ankerite ied by the present authors to delineate its possible lithological and/
and magnesite) and wallrock materials. Less commonly, aggregates or structural controls. The present drainage network was mainly
and bers of magnesitesiderite calcite occur as replacement formed during early Quaternary humid periods. During the Quater-
phases lling the open vugs in some veins, and are associated with nary, semi-arid to humid climatic periods alternated with arid
comb quartz. Most veins exhibit boudinage structures along the periods. The drainage network is shown in Fig. 2, where the area
strike and dip, and taper off at ends. Stylolitic and sheeted struc- is drained by a few main drainages, that possess numerous tribu-
tures are common where slivers of carbonaceous wallrocks are taries. The area is dissected at the northwestern and western parts
associated with elongate quartz ribbons. by relatively large tributaries, that ow south-southwest to the
Gold mineralization is closely associated with hydrothermally west. While the northern, northeastern, and eastern parts of the
and metasomatically altered bands of ultramac metasedimentary area are drained by tributaries owing to the north and south.
rocks (averaging 1 m thickness), almost entirely serpentinitized Moreover, the southern and southeastern parts of the area are
and later transformed into talc-carbonate rock. Most of the aurifer- drained by tributaries owing to the east and the west (Fig. 2).
ous veins cut graphite- and actinolite-schists that are closely asso- The network is a part of a vast watershed whose main wadis are
ciated with listvenite, talc and highly ferruginous shear zone directed to the southwest and run towards the River Nile following
extending EW (El-Ramly et al., 1970; El-Bedawi et al., 1983; the general SW slope of the main road of Idfu-Mersa Alam (Fig. 1).
Osman, 1995). The hydrothermally altered country rocks are The drainages are mature with broad gentle sloping valleys. In the
important targets to exploited gold at Barramiya area. The main eastern part of the area, there are high banks of ancient gravel
processes of the hydrothermal alteration are silicication, ferrugi- through which later relatively large tributaries have cut their
nation, listvenitization, carbonatization, talcization sericitiza- way, leaving terraces (Fig. 1). Therefore, the drainage network of
tion chloritization. Listvenites and the graphite schist rocks the Barramiya area is radial, reecting its dome-like structure.
enclosing the ore veins are often intensively ssured and lled However, structural features affecting this area locally modify the
with quartz, aggregates of chromite, chlorite, antigorite and sulde drainage conguration to trellis, rectangular, subparallel or coarse
minerals. All the hydrothermally altered zones contain gold dendritic patterns.
(El-Bedawi et al., 1983; Harraz et al., 2001). The wallrock selvages
comprise graphite-schist, carbonatized actinolite schist and listve- 3.2. Physiography
nite, with or without carbonaceous material. These selvages are
rich in disseminated pyritearsenopyritechalcopyrite and are The topography of the Barramiya gold mine area is rugged and
characterized by microbrecciation, slip, and annealing textures. changes in altitude are abrupt and is for the most part undulating,
An assemblage of chlorite graphitecarbonate minerals occupies with an average elevation of 500 m above sea-level, except in the
the serrate planes between deformed quartz crystals, outlining a northwest, where the landscape is quite well developed. Gentle
H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114 5

mountain slopes and wadi oors are covered by recent eolian and
alluvium. Alluvial sediments in upper parts of drainage systems
and wadis are composed mainly of blocks and boulders, but down-
stream often comprise gravel and sands. Eolian (clay and sand)
material is trapped in topographic hollows and wadi channels,
where small bushes and grass grow.
The study area has an extremely arid climate. Rainfall is usually
scarce or is practically nil (<25 mm/y) leading to rare torrents (or
dust storms) which ll the valleys with clast assemblages, ranging
from boulders to ne silts and clays, weathered from source rocks
in the drainage basins. Weathering and erosion are mainly by
mechanical processes. Although diurnal temperature can be quite Fig. 3. Wadi-sediment prole at Barramiya gold mine area.
marked, there is little seasonal variation. Summer is very hot
(but cools at night) and winter is mild and windy. The mean daily
maximum temperature is between 35 and 45 C, with annual mean
evaporation 3500 mm/y. Reg pavement is equivalent of the Australian lag or gibber
The nature of drainage sediments is largely a function of topog- (Carver et al., 1987), but in Australia it is mainly composed of sili-
raphy, local bedrock geochemistry and the inuence of weathering ceous or ferruginous fragments of a pre-existing laterite cover. This
as well as other secondary factors tending to modify the bedrock- is not the case in Eastern Desert of Egypt because most of the
soil-stream sediment relationships (Nichol et al., 1969; Melo and paleosoils were eroded during the Miocene. This is the main reason
Fletcher, 1999; Halfpenny and Mazzucchelli, 1999). Sediments of why gossans are exceptional on the Eastern Desert of Egypt (the
streams draining out of the northern, western, southeastern and present-day rainfall is too low; <25 mm/y; to induce severe oxida-
northeastern parts of the survey area are largely composed of clast tion of the sulde ores).
assemblages derived from serpentinites and talc-carbonates. In the
northwestern part of the area the stream sediment is largely sili-
ceous derived from granitic and serpentinized marble rocks. In 4. Sampling and analytical techniques
the southeastern and middle parts of the area the stream sedi-
ments are largely derived from metasediments. Some 425 samples were collected systematically from rst-
and second-order tributaries drainage channels over an area of
73 km2 (Fig. 2). The overall sample density achieved by the
3.3. Physical dispersion processes survey was 6 samples/km2. Samples were taken as close to the
center of the wadi-channel as possible where small bushes and
During the hot season hot ascending air-currents produce grass grow as well as debris of bedrock outcrops. About 10 kg
whirlwinds, which mobilize the surcial clay-sand material. Dur- of channel samples were taken from a depth of 1530 cm below
ing occasional rainstorms (once in four years) the upper silty-argil- the surface and at intervals of 200250 m along the drainage
laceous layer is mobilized with the surcial water owing on the channels.
reg pavement. This material is redeposited on the margins of the Samples were air-dried and then split to obtain 3 kg of material,
wadis. In at sites the coarse material is not moved. In moderate which was sieved in the eld with retention of the 1 mm fraction
to hilly relief if the rainfall lasts long enough (more than 1 h) grav- which was re-sieved in the laboratory and the 1 to +0.25 mm
ity ows occur and the water content in the upper clayey layer in- fraction was pulverized for chemical analysis. Past experience of
creases creating mudow conditions. sampling in the Eastern Desert of Egypt (Bugrov, 1974; Levinson,
The low permeability of the upper layer and lack of vegetation 1980; El-Makky, 1981; Nichol et al., 1989) proved that these sam-
give way to a sudden inux of clayey water from the tributaries pling methods are the most economical and useful for geochemical
into the main channel or in temporary playas or in topographic prospecting using stream sediments where clasts are being derived
hollows (playas and khabras). In wadis the water rst erodes the from local bedrocks. The remaining sample (7 kg) was panned by
upper eolian sand-silt deposits around the bushes. When the water hand, then the heavy concentrates were separated with bromo-
inux climax is reached all the alluvial material is moved in a form and the nonmagnetic fraction processed by a Frantz magnetic
mechanism very similar to that of mudows. When the rain stops, separator to select the enriched fraction for microscopic examina-
the ow energy decreases and the water lose its sand-clay load. tion for gold.
Reworking of the top alluvium by braided streams creates cross- The pulverized samples were ground and digested in a concen-
bedded deposits on the bankets and black patches of heavy miner- trated acid mixture consisting of 2 ml HNO3, 2 ml HCl and 2.5 ml
als on the surface. HF (Langmyhr and Paus, 1968, 1970). Solutions were analyzed for
An understand this ow mechanism is of prime importance in Ag, Co, Cr, Cu, Li, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sn, W and Zn using a Varian 10+ atomic
the discussion of gold mobility in present-day drainage. This in absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). Arsenic was determined col-
particular explains the lack of sorting in the main alluvial sedi- ourimetrically after KOH fusion. Gold was determined by AAS with
ments and the lack of enrichment of heavy minerals at the allu- a graphite furnace after organic extraction with methyl isobutyl ke-
vium/bedrock interface as currently observed in temperate or tone (MIBK). Analyzes were done by El-Mamoney at the National
tropical climates. A matter which led to bias of any optical deter- Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Alexandria-Egypt. Detec-
mination of gold on a nonmagnetic fraction of heavy pan concen- tion limits were Ag 0.1 ppm; As 30 ppm; Au 0.02 ppm; Co, Cr, Ni
trated samples. In addition nugget growth is practically absent in and W 3 ppm; Cu, Mo, Pb and Sn 1 ppm; Li and Zn 5 ppm. Due to
the present arid conditions. Fig. 3 shows a typical alluvial se- duplicate analyzes of the above-mentioned elements systematic
quence. The overall thickness of the sequence ranges from 50 to errors were avoided. The analytical precision for each element,
100 cm. In some sites, one or two intermediate horizons are miss- determined from 46 duplicate samples using the method of
ing. The rapid evaporation of water (3500 mm/y) gives some nod- Garrett (1969), expressed as the coefcient of variation, was 7%
ular gypsum or carbonate precipitation in the brown intermediate for Ag, Cu, Li, Mo, Pb, W and Zn; 12% for Au, Co, Cr, Ni and Sn;
sandy-gravel sediments. 20% for As.
6 H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

5. Statistical treatment of data In contrast, patterns of Cu, Pb, and Zn do not appear to be related
to a particular bedrock-type. Ag, Au, As, Cu and Mo; Cr; as well
5.1. Single-element distribution as Pb, Sn and W are predominantly associated with the distribution
of auriferous quartz, chromite and mineralized greisens,
Results of chemical analyzes are summarized in Table 1 and respectively.
illustrated in Fig. 4. They show variations in the distribution of Sediments derived from serpentinites are markedly enriched in
the majority of elements with bedrock type. In particular Co, Cr, Cr, Ni and Co relative to those from metasediments that are in turn
and Ni tend to be enriched over areas of serpentinites, talc-carbon- somewhat higher than in sediments derived from granites (Table
ates and metasediments, whereas Li, Mo, Sn and W are preferen- 1). Li, Pb, Sn, W and Mo show a signicant enrichment in the latter
tially concentrated in the granitoids. Marked regional variations (Fig. 4). Au, Ag, and As in sediments derived from both serpenti-
are noted in the mean contents of certain elements in the stream nites and metasediments are relatively higher than in sediments
sediments associated with different sites of both rock varieties. derived from granite (Table 1). Classication of samples in terms

Table 1
Statistical parameters of some selected trace elements content of stream sediments associated with various geological units.
0 00
Element Range (ppm) Mean (ppm) Cb (ppm) S S S (%) t1 (ppm) t2 (ppm)
Serpentinite (n = 173)
Ag <0.105.85 0.62 0.22 1.04 3.936 167 2.7 3.5
As <151000 88 22 164 4.732 186 415 493
Au <0.022.74 0.23 0.05 0.48 5.508 207 1.2 1.4
Co 5475 90 71 73 1.914 81 237 260
Cr 20045,000 3129 1786 6012 2.477 192 15,152 10,958
Cu 24372 99 79 71 1.910 72 241 288
Li <522 7.00 5.55 4.73 1.999 67 16 22
Mo <137 2.77 1.57 4.05 2.710 146 11 12
Ni 503000 957 796 545 1.936 57 2047 2983
Pb 4.5175 26 15 33 2.655 128 92 106
Sn <113 3.35 2.16 2.53 2.877 76 8.4 18
W <316 2.81 2.20 2.57 1.854 91 8.0 7.6
Zn 15790 162 116 131 2.355 81 424 643
Metasediment (n = 204)
Ag <0.106.27 0.59 0.25 0.96 3.758 162 2.5 3.5
As <15800 81 27 127 4.385 156 334 519
Au <0.023.51 0.21 0.05 0.43 5.675 203 1.1 1.6
Co 20475 77 65 57 1.718 74 191 192
Cr 2006000 1338 1128 830 1.820 62 2997 3736
Cu 21320 111 96 64 1.722 57 239 285
Li <535 6.81 5.21 5.83 2.009 86 18 21
Mo <117 1.98 1.21 2.62 2.489 132 7.2 7.5
Ni 602500 714 567 479 2.028 67 1673 2332
Pb 4.5138 25 17 26 2.203 105 76 83
Sn <119 4.34 3.16 3.09 2.483 71 11 19
W <365 3.90 2.45 6.91 2.133 177 18 11
Zn 30885 175 134 124 2.138 71 423 613
Granite (n = 48)
Ag <0.103.10 0.45 0.25 0.57 3.048 127 1.6 2.3
As <15215 51 27 55 3.281 106 161 291
Au <0.021.44 0.16 0.07 0.24 4.365 149 0.6 1.3
Co 585 30 23 21 2.198 68 71 111
Cr 20300 88 64 77 2.196 87 241 309
Cu 27209 98 85 50 1.730 51 198 254
Li <589 28 20 24 2.466 83 76 120
Mo <135 7.97 4.76 8.18 2.786 103 24 37
Ni 15400 70 49 75 2.134 108 221 223
Pb 6154 27 19 29 2.148 107 86 88
Sn <157 15 9.08 15 2.979 100 44 81
W <327 5.31 3.13 6.66 2.553 125 19 20
Zn 50390 176 160 74 1.570 42 324 394
All data (n = 425)
Ag <0.106.27 0.59 0.24 0.96 3.758 163 2.5 3.3
As <151000 81 25 128 4.106 158 337 421
Au <0.023.51 0.21 0.05 0.32 5.047 150 0.9 1.2
Co 5475 78 61 65 2.042 83 208 254
Cr 2045,000 1967 1054 4006 3.034 204 9979 9702
Cu 21372 105 88 66 1.816 63 237 290
Li <589 9.32 6.21 12 2.301 129 33 33
Mo <137 2.98 1.57 4.56 2.851 153 12 13
Ni 153000 760 532 534 2.016 70 1828 2162
Pb 4.5175 25 16 27 2.193 108 79 77
Sn <157 5.12 3.05 6.60 2.915 129 18 26
W <365 3.62 2.42 5.59 2.084 154 15 11
Zn 15885 170 129 123 2.138 72 416 590
Cb, local background; S, standard deviation; S , geometric standard deviation; S00 , coefcient of variation; t, threshold {t1 = (x + 2S); t2 = (Cb(S0 )2)}.
H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114 7

Fig. 4. Bar diagrams showing the range and the arithmetic mean ( ) for stream sediments associated with various lithologic units at Barramiya gold mine area (Dotted line
represents concentrations below the detection limits; solid line shows the total range).

of their bedrock type is therefore a critical matter. On the other the regional thresholds (Mean + 2 Standard deviation, Table 1)
hand, erratic distributions are displayed by threshold values of ele- being conned to areas around the Barramiya gold mine (Figs. 5
ments that occur in markedly varying concentrations in various and 6). In these areas the occurrence of Au-bearing quartz veins
lithologies (Table 1). and veinlets and disseminations in graphite schists and serpenti-
In order to facilitate the assessment of geochemical patterns, nized marbles have been reported and the enhancement of these
maps are presented to show the distribution of selected elements elements may be related to them. Gold values in drainage sedi-
of economic or exploration signicance (Figs. 5 and 6). A prelimin- ments are generally low and erratic, only few samples have values
ary visual interpretation of individual spatial distribution patterns exceeding 1 ppm (Fig. 5). The area around the Barramiya gold
of Ag, As, Au and W shows clear-cut relationships with known gold mine, which contains the highest density of old gold workings, is
mineralization in the study area. Most of these elements are excess characterized by Au contents that generally exceed 0.2 ppm.

Fig. 5. Distributions of Au, Ag, Cu, As, Pb, and Zn in drainage sediment over the basement complex, Barramiya area.
8 H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

Fig. 6. Distributions of Mo, W, Sn, Co, Cr, and Ni in drainage sediment over the basement complex, Barramiya area.

Values greater than the regional threshold (1.2 ppm) are conned patterns are superimposed on the regional distribution. For exam-
mainly to the northern and northwestern parts of the study area, ple, the NS trough is shown very clearly by Ag, As, Au, Mo, Pb, Sn,
nearly to Au- and U-bearing marbles (Fig. 6). W, and Zn, but in the cases of Co, Cr, Cu and Ni the overall pattern is
Mo contents (Fig. 4) range from <1 to 37 ppm with a geometric not so clear (Figs. 5 and 6). The major factor controlling the distri-
mean concentration of 1.57 ppm. Values greater than the regional bution of trace elements in stream sediments is the composition of
threshold (13 ppm) are conned mainly to the northwestern part the bedrock, but in places variation in topography appears to have
of the study area (Fig. 6). Mo anomalies in stream sediments are a modifying effect on the bedrock-stream sediment relationship.
somewhat more restricted geographically than Pb, Sn and W Therefore, it would be necessary to take fully into account the
anomalies. This limited distribution is possibly due to the high sol- varying inuence of local secondary factors related to weathering,
ubility of Mo in the low-pH water (pH 4.5; Rose et al., 1979) of the transportation and deposition that serve to modify the rock-soil-
study area where stream sediment derived from granites. Also, stream sediment relationship (Lakin et al., 1974; Nichol et al.,
molybdenite is highly susceptible to mechanical weathering and 1989; Fletcher and Wolcott, 1991; Zeegers and Leduc, 1993; Melo
most of the particulate molybdenite may be washed away in this and Fletcher, 1999; Hamdy and Aly, 2011).
terrain of moderate relief and fast-moving streams (Levinson, Problems of interpretation of regional pattern of elements in a
1980; Harraz et al., 2001). Therefore, any particulate molybdenite drainage survey fall mainly into two categories: (i) discrimination
found in the detrital material is usually near its source. These fac- of regional trends and relatively minor anomalies of regional data,
tors result in Mo anomalies clustering in the same areas as Pb, Sn and (ii) identication of variations related to bedrock mineraliza-
and W, but closer to the source rocks. The abundant anomalies in tion and secondary environment. Application of factor analysis aids
the NW part of the area represent a greisen mineralization, which to improve interpretation of regional geochemical data.
is in part related to the Younger Granites (Figs. 1 and 6).
As expected the elements associated with the ores show high 5.2. R-mode factor analysis
coefcients of variation in all samples draining out from all sources
(Table 1). Other elements (e.g. Co, Cr, Li, Ni and Sn) in samples The compilation and objective interpretation of multielement
draining the different rock media often have smaller coefcients geochemical data from a large number of samples is extremely te-
of variation. However, there is one exception, Cr, which has a high dious and difcult. Quantitative statistical treatment of geochemi-
standard deviation for all samples draining the different rock med- cal data as a useful and even a necessary technique in geochemical
ia. In general, a belt of low metal values trends NS through the interpretation is widely accepted and practiced (see for example
eastern part of the area and gradually to the area with higher metal Nichol et al., 1969; Closs and Nichol, 1975; Swan and Sandilands,
contents to the central, northern, and northwest (Figs. 5 and 6). The 1995; Davis, 2002; Ali et al., 2006).
precise form of the regional distribution pattern of elements varies The initial step in calculating R-mode factor analysis is to
from one element to another and, for certain elements, local compute a correlation matrix. The latter was calculated using
H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114 9

log-transformed values (Table 2). The majority of analyzed ele- chalcophile in nature and obviously related to gold mineralization
ments in stream sediment samples are positively correlated. The (Fig. 7). Elements of this factor occur in pyrite, arsenopyrite, copper
results demonstrate that Au is strongly correlated with Ag, As, oxide and hydroxide, and sphalerite. Scheelite is widely distributed
Cu, Mo, Pb, W and Zn and weakly correlated with Co. CrCoNi in wadi sediments, might also be associated with the elements of
and LiSnMoPbW have signicant inter-correlation. A preli- factor 1 (Hume, 1937). This metal occurs in the area underlain by
minary examination reveals that three groups of the ore elements the graphite-schist in contact with talc-carbonate at the central
are moment correlated with positive correlations at r-values at part of the study area. High factor scores, obtained at the northern
0.01% level of signicance (Table 2). Therefore, the variables can and northwest parts of the study area, correlate spatially with the
be classied into three dispersion patterns: (1) AgAsAuCu area underlain by Younger Granites at the contact with the serpen-
PbZnWMoCo; (2) CoCrNi; and (3) LiSnMoWPb. tinized marble (Fig. 7). Moreover, specks of gold and sulde dis-
Although some elements (i.e. Co, Pb, Mo and W) are common in seminations were observed in quartz veins invading the Younger
more than one dispersion pattern, others are characteristic of only Granite samples as well as native nuggets (2035 lm) having glob-
one. These dispersion patterns are consistent with the three ore ule, rod, crescent, and irregular streak shapes, in pores, vugs, and
deposits well recorded in the Barramiya area (i.e. Gold, chromite ssures of serpentinized marble.
and wolframite, see Gabbra, 1986). The low correlation between A comprehensive review of the geochemistry of As and its pro-
other trace elements perhaps could result from there being more spective value as a pathnder for Au has been given by Hale (1981)
than one group of elements, and is depending on dispersion of and Samal et al. (2008). Although the abundance of As in factor 1 is
these trace elements in the three draining system. high, the element exhibits strong siderophile to chalcophile char-
In order to investigate more subtle features in the data, factor acteristics, which suggest a marked geochemical contrast between
analysis is employed. The R-mode factor multivariate analytical its concentrations in sulde minerals as compared to silicate or
technique essentially measures correlation between variables on carbonate rocks. On the other hand, carbonates have marked
the basis of their mutual linear correlation coefcients. Closs and chemical favorability for inltration of hydrothermal uids (Liu
Nichol (1975) indicated that selection of the most appropriate et al., 1999). Thus, the metacarbonates (graphite and marble) are
model is based on the recognition of metal associations considered probably the host for many ore minerals. In addition, the post-col-
meaningful in terms of geological or surface processes. R-mode fac- lision magmatism and even surcial alteration and weathering
tor analysis is used to resolve the intercorrelations of the geochem- could also be agents of enrichment and mineralizing the graphite
ical variables and to explain the observed relations among the schist and serpentinized marble rocks.
numerous variables in terms of simpler relations. The Varimax
matrix of the log-transformed data is shown in Table 3. All calcu-
5.2.2. Factor 2 (NiCoCr)
lations of R-mode factor analysis were performed by SPSS-pro-
Factor 2 accounts for 30% of the data variability of this model
gramme (SPSS 15.0 for windows: Noruis and SPSS Inc., 2006).
and reects, essentially, a mac lithological control. The metal
After inspection of various factor models that were computed, a
association map (Fig. 7) and the single element Co and Cr maps
three-factor model that accounted for 74.10% of the data variability
(Fig. 6) are also similar. The areal distribution of factor scores
(Table 3) was considered to be the most consistent with the known
shows high values, lying dominantly within the area underlain
geological and environmental processes. Only variables with load-
by chromite lenses hosted by the serpentinite and talc-carbonate
ings greater than 0.40 were considered as signicant members of a
rocks at the central and northern parts of the area (Fig. 7). Isolated
particular factor. There is a general tendency for samples classied
high scores in metasediment areas often correspond to streams
on geological basis as draining metasediment bedrock to have high
that drain lenses of talc-carbonate (Fig. 1). The combination of this
scores of factor 1 (Fig. 7). In contrast, samples derived from serpen-
element association together with the areal disposition of factor
tinites or granites tend to have low scores of factor 1. However,
scores is consistent with the interpretation that this factor is a
certain sediment samples classied geologically as derived from
strong indicator of chromite deposits, thus reecting the close
granites are shown statistically to have metasedimentary afnities
relation between them in the parent rocks and chromite lenses
and some metasedimentary samples have serpentinitic afnities,
as a dominant inuencing factor.
indicating the inadequacies of the classication based on the geo-
logical basis. To illustrate areas of high factor, factor scores were
also computed and selected maps are shown in Fig. 7. 5.2.3. Factor 3 (LiSnW)
Factor 3 accounts for 9.5% of the data variability accounted for
5.2.1. Factor 1 (AgAuAsCuZnPbMoW) by three-factor model (Table 4). There is also some contribution
Factor 1 accounts for 61% of the variability of this model with from both Mo and Pb. This metal association coupled with strong
some contribution from Co (Table 4). Factor 1 is denitely positive correlation reect their similar afnity. High scores for this

Table 2
Correlation coefcient matrix for trace elements in the stream sediments of the Barramiya area.

Ag As Au Co Cr Cu Li Mo Ni Pb Sn W Zn
Ag 1.00 0.81 0.88 0.39 0.15 0.72 0.29 0.56 0.07 0.68 0.24 0.54 0.67
As 1.00 0.81 0.38 0.12 0.71 0.27 0.56 0.10 0.66 0.22 0.60 0.67
Au 1.00 0.33 0.07 0.68 0.29 0.60 0.12 0.62 0.26 0.58 0.66
Co 1.00 0.59 0.30 0.10 0.02 0.57 0.33 0.15 0.31 0.25
Cr 1.00 0.12 0.24 0.21 0.75 0.05 0.24 0.09 0.07
Cu 1.00 0.27 0.48 0.15 0.68 0.29 0.50 0.60
Li 1.00 0.50 0.24 0.40 0.58 0.44 0.26
Mo 1.00 0.23 0.42 0.40 0.52 0.48
Ni 1.00 0.13 0.24 0.19 0.12
Pb 1.00 0.39 0.57 0.58
Sn 1.00 0.35 0.27
W 1.00 0.40
Zn 1.00

Critical value of r = 0.321 for n = 425 samples at 0.01% condence level.

10 H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

Table 3
Metal associations, element loadings and data variability (%) of different factor models of trace element contents of stream sediments.

Factor Factor model

2 3 4 5 6 7 8
F1 Ag 0.91 Ag 0.91 Ag 0.89 Ag 0.87 Ag 0.87 Cu 0.90 Au 0.91
As 0.89 Au 0.90 Au 0.87 Cu 0.85 Cu 0.84 Pb 0.79 Ag 0.90
Au 0.89 As 0.89 As 0.86 As 0.83 As 0.83 Ag 0.69 As 0.78
Cu 0.82 Cu 0.82 Zn 0.84 Zn 0.83 Zn 0.83 As 0.64 Cu 0.57
Pb 0.80 Zn 0.80 Cu 0.82 Au 0.83 Au 0.83 Au 0.60 Zn 0.52
Zn 0.77 Pb 0.72 Pb 0.70 Pb 0.75 Pb 0.76 Zn 0.45 Pb 0.48
W 0.71 Mo 0.61 Mo 0.57 Mo 0.47 Mo 0.48 Mo 0.44
Mo 0.65 W 0.55 W 0.45 W 0.41 W 0.42
Co 0.47
Li 0.40
F2 Cr 0.88 Ni 0.88 Ni 0.90 Ni 0.92 Ni 0.92 Ni 0.92 Ni 0.92
Ni 0.85 Co 0.83 Cr 0.85 Cr 0.86 Cr 0.86 Cr 0.88 Cr 0.88
Co 0.68 Cr 0.82 Co 0.79 Co 0.77 Co 0.77 Co 0.75 Co 0.75
Li 0.62
Sn 0.61
Mo 0.42
F3 Li 0.83 Sn 0.87 Sn 0.87 W 0.79 Mo 0.81 Cu 0.70
Sn 0.77 Li 0.75 Li 0.76 Au 0.48 Pb 0.62
W 0.57
Mo 0.40
F4 W 0.77 W 0.77 Li 0.82 Zn 0.83 W 0.83
Pb 0.40 Pb 0.40 Au 0.43
Ag 0.40
As 0.40
F5 Mo 0.69 Sn 0.90 W 0.80 Li 0.84
Co 0.44
F6 Mo 0.69 Li 0.83 Sn 0.91
F7 Sn 0.91 Zn 0.81
F8 Mo 0.76
Data Variability 67.10 74.10 78.90 83.30 86.60 89.70 92.30

Fig. 7. Factor score maps in drainage sediment over the basement complex, Barramiya area.
H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114 11

Table 4 disseminated Nisuldes and Ni-arsenides and pentlandite re-

R-mode varimax factor matrix. vealed traces of Au (up to 0.64 wt.% Au; Takla and Suror, 1996).
Element Communality F-1 F-2 F-3 Accordingly, it is suggested that the serpentinized ultramac rocks
Ag 0.852 0.906 0.116 0.135 may have been an important source for gold (Takla and Suror,
Au 0.830 0.898 0.038 0.147 1996). However, not all known sites of mineralization in the Barra-
As 0.827 0.894 0.096 0.137 miya area are represented by such anomalies. Analysis of common
Cu 0.694 0.816 0.059 0.160 sulde minerals suggests that As is most widely distributed in pyr-
Zn 0.641 0.797 0.011 0.078
Pb 0.654 0.719 0.130 0.347
ite and chalcopyrite, while galena and sphalerite more readily
Mo 0.598 0.611 0.250 0.403 accommodate Ag. Ag and As concentrations reported may occur
Ni 0.846 0.178 0.878 0.208
as substitutions in lattice of the host suldes, or as inclusions of
Co 0.802 0.326 0.832 0.059 Ag and As minerals in solid solution. On the other hand, Mo and
Cr 0.802 0.118 0.820 0.341 W are mostly related to molybdenite and scheelite minerals, both
Li 0.780 0.195 0.217 0.834 elements are used as indicators since ancient times (Hume, 1937).
Sn 0.670 0.156 0.243 0.766 The occurrence of signicant quantities of sulde minerals, either
W 0.633 0.550 0.106 0.565 in the ore or in its associated minerals, is therefore an important
Eigenvalue 5.88 2.84 0.91
source of Ag, As, Mo and W. These four elements can also form
% of Var. 61.00 29.55 9.45
Cum% 61.00 90.55 100.00 their own minerals, which occur in minor quantities in some min-
eralization sites. The work carried out here been not extended to
the determination of Ag, As, Mo and W in sulde minerals. How-
ever, the stream sediment data suggest that at least one of these
elements, most usually Ag or As, appears to be present in the min-
factor were scanty, but the areas of serpentinites and talc-carbon-
eralization in quantities required for the application of pathnder
ates are characterized by very low scores. The association of Li, Sn,
geochemistry in drainage surveys.
W and Pb is typically of felsic rocks and is, therefore, considered as
Signicant anomalies of Ag, As, Mo and W, related to oxidizing
lithologically controlled. The distribution map of Factor 3 (Fig. 7)
zones associated with gold mineralization, are likely to include a
shows a few scattered clusters that correlate spatially with the area
large hydromorphic component compared with background levels
underlain by the highly weathered Older Granites, thus reecting
of these elements. Mobility in a surcial environment is dominated
the parent rocks and greisen as dominant inuencing factors. On
by transport in aqueous solutions; therefore greatly inuence the
the other hand, a few scattered cluster distributions of the factor
occurrence of anomalies (see Hamdy and Aly, 2011). The elements
scores, may reect in part the irregular occurrence of greisens that
Ag, As, Mo and W are soluble in aqueous phases and mobile in the
contain cassiterite, wolframite and galena.
vicinity of oxidizing suldes, providing their host minerals are
undergoing oxidation (Williams, 2003). Arsenic and Mo, are
6. Discussion strongly scavenged from solution in Fe-rich environments, either
by formation of Fe-compounds or by adsorption on Fe-oxides
Application of R-mode factor analysis indicates that factor 1 (Hem, 1977). Moreover, arsenic remains mobile under all condi-
gives the most interesting results, which associates Ag, As, Cu, tions in natural environment, leading to the development of rela-
Mo and W with Au and is considered indicative of the occurrence tively long As dispersion trains and anomalies in a variety of host
of arsenopyrite, copper minerals and scheelite (sphaler- rocks at the Barramiya gold mine area.
ite molybdenite) with gold. Although visible gold is rare, micro-
scopic and submicroscopic free-milling gold grains occur as
dispersed globule, rod, crescent, irregular streak, blebs and specks 6.1. Dispersion of gold in wadi sediments
along ne ribbons of wallrock in quartz veins, and in the graphitic
shear planes. These wallrock selvages are the locus of abundant Gold contents in drainage sediments are generally low and erra-
ne-grained arsenopyrite that is frequently intimately associated tic; only few values exceed 1 ppm (Fig. 5). Most of the high element
with gold. Inclusions of gold (10 lm-across) have been observed concentrations in stream sediments are found in the graphite-
in the As-bearing pyrite grains intergrown with arsenopyrite, or schist and serpentinized marble rocks matched well with principal
occur as free grains embedded in the quartzsericiteankerite sel- component images that represent multi-element associations re-
vage. Native gold and goldsilver alloy occur as tiny grains along lated to gold mineralization. The area around the Barramiya gold
micro-fractures in the quartz veins. However, the bulk mineraliza- mine, however, which contains the highest density of old gold
tion was attributed to auriferous arsenopyrite and arsenic-bearing workings, is characterized by Au contents that generally exceed
pyrite (with hundreds of ppms of refractory Au), as evident by 0.2 ppm (Fig. 5). Distribution of Au changes abruptly from the near
electron microprobe and LAICPMS analyzes (n = 102, range source to 150 m downstream. Geochemical survey can be effective
2193116 ppm, average 667 ppm Au; Zoheir and Lehmann, by using a sensitive analytical method for Au in the 1 + 0.25 mm
2011). As rocks weather and their content of sulde minerals oxi- fraction of the brown blocky gravel sediment. Geochemical disper-
dize, Ag, As, Mo and W are likely to be carried into drainage sys- sion patterns in the 0.51.0 ppm range indicate Au mineralization
tems in solution as well as included in clastic fragments. of 500100 m upstream, depending on relief. Very strong anoma-
Therefore, in a geochemical exploration using drainage sediments, lies of more than 1 ppm Au (Fig. 5) are mainly related to the sur-
these elements can assume the role of pathnder elements for cial pattern due to the dumps of the ancient gold workings in the
potentially economic deposits. Their concentrations in this role de- central part of the study area near the Barramiya gold mine.
pend upon many factors, but in particular upon the consistency of Despite the vicinity of very strong anomalies, Au contents in wadi
their association with the type of deposits sought, upon their geo- alluvium fall very sharply from 0.75 ppm (100300 m) down-
chemical dispersion characteristics and upon the ease with which stream to 0.35 ppm (5001200 m) far from their downstream
geochemical analysis can be performed. (Fig. 5). Despite eolian contamination, supercial geochemical
Above the selected geochemical thresholds, Ag, As, Mo and W anomaly in the range 0.750.35 ppm is detectable at 1200 m
anomalies appear in general to be related to known or suspected downstream of the Au-vein systems that were articially disinte-
mineralization (see Fig. 1). Electron microprobe analysis of grated by ancient workings.
12 H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114

6.2. Supergene gold chemical mobility

Dominant transport processes vary by environment (arid, trop-

ical), age or type of cover, and structural/tectonic setting. In some
areas water and electrochemical mechanisms may dominate metal
transport. In others, movement of elements along faults by water,
evapo-transpiration and/or gaseous diffusion dominate, such that
the strongest signatures are evident around faults. In yet other
areas hyper-saline groundwater contributes signicantly to ele-
ment mobility through formation of highly mobile metal anion
complexes. Variable roles in metal transportation and xation
may be played by micro-organisms, cycling of metals by vegeta-
tion, seismic or barometric pumping of water and/or gases. This
fact has major consequences on the chemical mobility of gold. In
arid environments with abundant carbonate and prevailing soil
pH of 79, most metals of interest to exploration do not travel far.
The present-day desert conditions impede any nugget growth
in soil and alluvium, a fact conrmed by the most recent failure
to nd gold placers in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Scarcity of veg-
etation and lack of organic decomposition in soils hinder produc-
tion of humic and cyanogenic complexes, which play an
important role in tropical climates (Lakin et al., 1974; Harraz
et al., 2001). During the more humid paleoclimatic periods, second-
ary enrichment must have been active but most of the resultant
proles were eroded by the Miocene period leaving only a skele-
tal residue of the adjacent rocks. The residence time of the Au-
bearing solutions in the present-day climate is too short to allow
secondary growth of gold particles (Salpeteur and Sabir, 1989;
Fletcher and Wolcott, 1991; Zeegers and Leduc, 1993). Fig. 8. Grain-size distribution of gold particles recovered by hand panning from
Gold particles larger than 100 lm are locally observed on the drainage sediment samples at the Barramiya area.

top of quartz veins and in pyritic limonitic boxworks hosted in

granites at the contact with serpentinized marble at the northern
and northwestern parts of the study area, but these are generally During oxidation of sulde minerals the SO2 2 content of the sur-
affected by sand and wind erosion. The average size of free gold cial water increases, thereby lowering the pH. Dissolution and
particles recovered by hand panning is 45 lm in oxidized dump hydrolysis of Ca- and Mg-bearing minerals increase the anionic
samples and 7080 lm in the wadi-sediment samples (Fig. 8). content of the ground water. Subsequent evaporation in hot desert
These are maxima; most of the very ne gold is lost in sample conditions produces oversaturated and slightly alkaline conditions.

desliming. The AuCl4 complex becomes unstable (Hamilton et al., 1983) and
Occurrence of free gold particles up to 0.5 mm on the oxidized metallic gold is adsorbed on quartz silts. This mechanism has been
outcrops of mineralized quartz veins and in listvenite may result experimentally demonstrated by Sakkarova et al. (1984). Oxidation
from secondary enrichment by ascending oversaturated solutions of Fe2+ to Fe3+ may also reduce Au3+ to the metallic state (Williams,
(Bonnemaison, 1986; Osman, 1995; Likhoidov et al., 2007). Hamdy 2003), as suggested by the common observation of secondary gold
and Aly (2011) showed that specks of gold and sulde dissemina- nuggets in limonitic boxworks. Variability in chemistry of host
tions are native nuggets (2035 lm) in pores, vugs, and ssures of rocks and their paleoclimatic history explain the difculty of den-
highly altered serpentinized marble and in the oxidation zone at ing a general rule.
the northern and northwestern parts of the studied area. The
post-metamorphic gold mineralization in the marble took place 7. Conclusions
mostly by surcial uids. Mineralizing uid was also responsible
for leaching Au from its serpentinite source. The Au was most The applicability of both simple statistical and R-mode factor
probably transported from its source to the marble rocks by pluvial multivariate analytical techniques for interpretation of regional
periods-related meteoric and/or underground water (<1.5 Ma; stream sediment data from the study area has been shown.
Hamdy and Aly, 2011). Consequence, source of native nuggets gold Single-element distribution plots, though useful, are both time
in stream sediment samples at the northern and northwestern consuming and inadequate for identifying subtle though signi-
parts of the studied area is mostly the country ultramac rocks cant patterns within the data. Single element maps of Au and As
and the mineralization timing, relative to the marblization and give starting point for further studies. These maps allow the loca-
metamorphism of the source rocks (Harraz et al., 2001; Hamdy tion of the richest regions for these elements, and it is a very useful
and Aly, 2011). A more accurate approach to the mineralogy of tool. However, the use of several numerical methods can help to
these secondary weathering products is needed to achieve a better identify specic areas of interest. In this way R-mode factor multi-
understanding of the processes and their relative chronology with variate analytical techniques have been selected to show their ben-
respect to the past pluvial climatic periods in the Eastern Desert of ets in interpreting stream sediment geochemical data from the
Egypt. study area. The three-factor model has been adequately explained
Hydrogeochemical studies of water wells in the central Eastern in terms of geological and surface processes, which show great
Desert and Bir Barramiya especially indicate high Cl content and masking effects. The most interesting results are related to factor
weak acidic conditions. Chemical transport of gold may then be 1, which associates Ag, As, Cu, Mo and W with Au and is considered

suspected since the AuCl4 and HAuO 3 complexes are stable in such indicative of the occurrence of arsenopyrite, copper minerals and
conditions (Cloke and Kelly, 1964; Webster and Mann, 1984). scheelite (sphalerite molybdenite) with gold. Association of Ag
H.Z. Harraz et al. / Journal of African Earth Sciences 68 (2012) 114 13

with Au in this factor is well established since the mean purity val- Gad, S., Kusky, T.M., 2006. Lithological mapping in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, the
Barramiya area, using Landsat thematic mapper (TM). Journal of African Earth
ues of ore samples are 702794 Au and 117171 Ag, with Ag: Au
Sciences 44, 196202.
ratio 1:4.6 (Hume, 1937). In single-element distribution maps Garrett, R.G., 1969. The determination of sampling and analytical errors in
some elements show a clear-cut relationship with known gold exploration geochemistry. Economic Geology 64, 568569.
mineralization or other potentially mineralized areas. Hale, M., 1981. Pathnder applications of arsenic, antimony and bismuth in
geochemical exploration. In: Rose, A.W., Gundlach, H. (Eds.), Geochemical
In conclusion, the use of R-mode factor analysis proved effective Exploration 1980. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 15, 307323.
for recognition of the metal association AgAuAsCuZnPb Halfpenny, R., Mazzucchelli, R.H., 1999. Regional multi-element drainage
MoW that is most probably indicative of potential mineralization geochemistry in the Himalayan Mountains, northern Pakistan. Journal of
Geochemical Exploration 67, 223233.
in the Barramiya gold deposit. The most promising area for follow- Hamdy, M.M., 2007. Stable isotope and trace element characteristics of some
up exploration is the district underlain by the graphite-schist in serpentinite-hosted vein magnesite deposits from the Eastern Desert of Egypt:
contact with talc-carbonate at the central part of the area and arguments for magmatism and metamorphism-related mineralising uids.
Middle East Research Center Bulletin, Earth Sciences Series 21, 2950.
underlain also by serpentinized marble as well as Younger Granites Hamdy, M.M., Aly, G.A., 2011. Preliminary results of a rst record of gold and
at the northwest part of the area (Figs. 5 and 7). Gold specks and uranium in marble from Central Eastern Desert, Egypt: a witness for (syn-and
sulde disseminations were observed in quartz veins invading post-?) metamorphic mineralization in metasediments. Arabian Journal of
Geosciences 4, 2543.
the Younger Granite as documented by panning of stream sedi- Hamilton, T.W., Ellis, J., Florence, T.M., Fardy, J.J., 1983. Analysis of gold in surface
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