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Defining The Geochemical Footprint For Gold Mineralisation Around Birthday Reef.Reefton Goldfield, New Zealand
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences. (Ore Research Group)
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Orogenic gold deposits from the Reefton goldfield in New Zealand hosted in Ordovician metasediments of the Greenland group have produce 67 tons of gold before 1951. The Blackwater mine in Waiuta account for about 1/3 of the gold production at Reefton prior 1951. The ore system at Blackwater consist of NE trending steeply dipping gold-bearing quartz veins (Birthday reef) occurring in faulted, sheared and folded alternating sequence of sandstone-mudstone metamorphosed to low greenschist facies and hydrothermally altered proximal to distal from the quartz vein. Host rock and ore forming fluids interaction resulted in a systematic change in the mineralogy and geochemistry of the wallrock developing a distinctive footprint of the ore system. The mineral assemblage subsequent to hydrothermal alteration is formed by quartz veining, chlorite, carbonates (minor calcite-dolomite-ankerite-siderite), albite, K-Mica and composite quartz-carbonate veining, carbonates spotting, pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, cobaltite, galena and in a lesser extent ullmannite, gersdorffite, pentlandite, millerite and sphalerite. Mass balance calculation based on geochemical data obtained by ultra-low detection analysis with a detection limit in part per trillion of Au, As and Sb provide new insight in the geochemical footprint of the ore system at Blackwater. A clear zone of roughly 40 meters (20 meters above and below the birthday reef) is enriched in Au, As and Sb up to respectively 6806%, 605% and 891% compared to the un-mineralised protolith. Furthermore, mass changes in K2O and Na2O indicate a consistent decrease in Na and increase in K in the vicinity of the Birthday reef reflecting the replacement of albite by K-mica. This is corroborated by pattern of alkali alteration index Na/Al for albite and 3K/Al for K-Mica showing similar trend. Carbonation and de/-hydration index also exhibits peaks in samples adjacent to the Birthday reef, though carbonation index is also influenced by carbonates content in the protolith or late carbonation that may not related to gold mineralisation. Using the indicators above-mentioned it is possible to define the mineralogical and geochemical “footprint” for the ore system in the host rock allowing to use this footprint as a tool for mineral exploration for orogenic gold deposits similar to Blackwater. Given that the geochemical footprint of orogenic gold deposit such as Blackwater is significantly wider than the economically viable part of the deposit defining the footprint of the ore system offers the potential for vectoring from sub-economic mineralisation towards higher-grade ore that is economically viable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 57 p.
Meddelanden från Stockholms universitets institution för geologiska vetenskaper
Keyword [en]
Orogenic gold, hydrothermal alteration, Reefton, mass changes, geochemical footprint, vectors, exploration, Blackwater
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132115OAI: diva2:948817
2016-06-09, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-07-14 Created: 2016-07-13 Last updated: 2016-07-14Bibliographically approved

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