Low Sulphidation Epithermal Gold Deposits (adularia-sericite type) OUTLINE •Definition and Regional Characteristics • Local Characteristics • Mode of Formation • Exploration Criteria • Drill Philosophy .

surface to ~2 km depth • Fluid temperature .Low Sulphidation………………. Very Low Low Intermediate High loellingite pyrrohotite magnetite pyrite marcasite arsenopyrite chalcopyrite tennantite enargite tetrahedrite pyrite pyrite haematite arsenopyrite ……………………...<50 to 300oC Very High covellite digenite pyrite . Epithermal Gold Deposits • High-level hydrothermal systems .

low-sulphidation (Far South East . Japan) • Continuum between porphyry .Lepanto . Argentina) • Sub-volcanic felsic rocks maybe nearby (Hishikari.Geological Setting • Volcanic and continental-margin magmatic arc and continental volcanic fields with extensional structures • Local rift structures within magmatic arc (El Penon.high-sulphidation . Philippines) .Victoria. Chile) • Back-arc rifts (Cerro Vanguardia.


Cerro Vanguardia (Argentina) Triassic: North Arm (Queensland) Tertiary: Comstock (US). NZ).most abundant • Erosion of older systems Proterozoic: Indee (West Australia) Permo-Carboniferous: Drummond Basin. Colqui & Antapite (Peru) Today: Taupo (New Zealand) .Age • Throughout geological history . Sierra de la Piedra (Paleocene . Arcata (Neogene .Peru). Cracow (Queensland) Jurassic: Calcatreu.Proterozoic to Now • Tertiary or younger .Chile). Waihi (Miocene. El Penon.

5 to 1 Ma) .Host Rocks • Any host rock with suitable structural permeability • Most occur in volcanic rocks and associated volcaniclastics. Calcalkaline and andesitic compositions dominate • Epithermal veins and mineralisation related to host volcanics but are usually slightly younger in age (0.

Morrison .System Geometry Buchanan .Corbett & Leach .


Geometries of epithermal systems .

Se) . Te. Tl. silver sulphosalts) • Lesser . sphalerite.cinnabar. geochemistry) • pyrite . tetrahedrite. gold. gangue and alteration mineralogy is commonly zoned (cf. argentite. tennantite.Ore Mineralogy • ore. silver.(electrum. stibnite. arsenopyrite • Odd balls . selenides.Au-Ag (Zn-Pb) Cu. Hg. As.chalcopyrite. galena. Sb. (W. naumannite • Metal association .

Morrison .Corbett & Leach .Buchanan .

lining fine-crystalline open-space quartz veins • sodium cobaltnitrate staining . sometime striated.Gangue Mineralogy . pink and green. Cryptocrystalline and Crystalline varieties What is adularia? • low-temperature stable potassium aluminium silicate (orthoclase) • colourless. infilling crystal interstices. hard (6) • pseudo-orthorhombic form.Quartz • Amorphous. monoclinic habit • occurs as bands in colloform-crustiform veins. white.

kaolinite.adularia. other carbonates. zeolites .Gangue Mineralogy • quartz is ubiquitous • Common . calcite. amethyst • Lesser .barite. fluorite. illite.

Alteration • Often very discrete away from vein exposures • Silicification .pH stability .quartz veins. veinlets. pervasive filling of rock pores • clay minerals zoned relative to temperature .

flat-lying. montmorillonite. near surface zone of kaolinite. alunite alteration .Alteration • Argillic .

near-neutral pH. lesser components leached from the wall-rocks • At depth. lesser: yang lebih kurang. fluids exploit the bulk-rock permeability • ‘Boiling’ occurs at depths generally less than 2 km and is primarily responsible for precious metal deposition.Mode of Formation • Ascending fluids reduced. gas-rich. low salinity. Comprise meteoric and magmatic waters. Ascending: naik. fluid ascent confined to faults and fractures • At shallower depths. leached: melepaskan. confined: dibatasi .

hydrothermal vein breccias . gold). calcite. adularia. volatile gases (H2S and CO2) and resultant fluid • Boiling occurs in response to the rapid-lowering of the fluid pressure as a result of fluid ascent to a higher crustal level • The level when boiling commences is termed the ‘boiling level’ • Removal of the precipitated and gas phases from the ascending fluids allows multiple boiling events (due to lowering the critical point of the fluid) .What is boiling? • Boiling is the phase separation of the ascending fluids into precipitates (quartz.

condense and form acid-sulphate and bicarbonate waters gold-barren producing flatlying zones of leaching. argillic and advanced argillic alteration • Near the sub-surface.Mode of formation (continued) • The gases released can rise to the sub-surface. phreatic breccias may also form when groundwater comes in contact with ascending fluid and flash boils • Fluids continue to surface to form sinters and hot pools. • Sinters and hot pools may or may not contain gold and other metals • Change in paleosurface-water table allows for stacked systems and significant vertical extent .

1 ppb Au 6.4 % Au At depth: ~1 ppb Au .Broadlands Geothermal At weir: <<0.

175 ppm Ag. 170 ppm Hg . 2% Sb. 320 ppm Tl. NZ 80 ppm Au.Champagne pool and sinter. 2% As.

NZ .Sinter Waiotapu.

White Sinter Terraces Waimangu. NZ .

Columnar Growth Structures perpendicular to Sinter Laminations .

plumose Replacement Textures Mold. zoned crystals. comb. Bladed .Quartz textures Primary Growth Textures chalcedonic. saccharoidal. crustiform Recrystallisation Textures Moss. colloform.

Coarse carbonate .mould amorphous silica Calcatreu. Argentina .

Turkey .Lattice Bladed Carbonate Ovacik.

Chalcedonic silica Gwenivere Hg Mine (Ivanhoe) .

Moss texture Pajingo. Queensland 2 cm Recrystallisation of silica gel globules .

adularia Hishikari.sulphide .Colloform banded chalcedonic silica gold . Japan 83 Kg/t Au 34 Kg/t Ag .

Crustiform banding (adularia stained) (Sodium Cobaltnitrite Solution) .

Colloform banding (Ginguro) fine silica-adularia-sulphide Hishikari. Japan .

Needle Adularia Mold Pajingo. Queensland .

Crustiform . NZ .comb quartz Karangahake.

Exploration Guidelines • Characteristics of the system reflect the ore forming process • Geological interpretation will guide the other disciplines • Map hydrothermal architecture of the system Recognise paleosurface/paleo-watertable level Paleorelief Controls on ore distribution .

Outcropping vein-alteration • Recognition of sinter and eruption-phreatic breccias • Argillic and advanced argillic alteration blankets • Interpretation of the volcanic facies • Use of quartz textures • System mineralogy……geochemistry (metal zonation.resistivity tools (gradient-array resistivity) • Fluid inclusions . Ag:Au) • Clay mineral alteration • Geophysics .

flow textures Waihi. NZ .

NZ) .Concealed system • Reliance on geophysics resistivity magnetics • Detailed analysis of illite crystallinity by PIMA (Golden Cross.

multiple events . brecciation .veining. NZ) Zones of vein thickening (Vera-Nancy.Controls of higher-grade Au-Ag • Depends on structure and host rock competency Dilatant features (Waihi. Queensland) Rock competency contrasts/unconformities (Hishikari) Dynamic systems.

variety of opinions • Need to core early in prospect history .Drilling .Core verses percussion • Highly debated at Elko meeting .need to see the system • Core on selected sections to obtain a vertical zonation • Core best when gold hosted in softer ores (reduction in grade and thickness) .

How many holes are enough? • Also highly debated at Elko meeting • Discovery of low-tonnage.Drilling . high-grade systems of limited vertical extent is difficult • Midas. Cracow discoveries indicate persistence • How deep…. the system remains untested . while evidence of boiling exists. Vera-Nancy..economic considerations versus lure of high-grades • Geologically.