Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 991-1017

First online:

Genesis of the Au–Bi–Cu–As, Cu–Mo ± W, and base–metal Au–Ag mineralization at the Mountain Freegold (Yukon, Canada): constraints from Ar–Ar and Re–Os geochronology and Pb and stable isotope compositions

  • Thierry Bineli BetsiAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Sciences, University of New Brunswick Email author 
  • , David LentzAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Sciences, University of New Brunswick
  • , Massimo ChiaradiaAffiliated withDépartement de Minéralogie, Université de Genève
  • , Kurt KyserAffiliated withDepartment of Geological Sciences, Queens University
  • , Robert A. CreaserAffiliated withDepartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta

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The genesis of mineralized systems across the Mountain Freegold area, in the Dawson Range Cu–Au ± Mo Belt of the Tintina Au province was constrained using Pb and stable isotope compositions and Ar–Ar and Re–Os geochronology. Pb isotope compositions of sulfides span a wide compositional range (206Pb/204Pb, 18.669–19.861; 208Pb/204Pb, 38.400–39.238) that overlaps the compositions of the spatially associated igneous rocks, thus indicating a magmatic origin for Pb and probably the other metals. Sulfur isotopic compositions of sulfide minerals are broadly similar and their δ34S (Vienna-Canyon Diablo Troilite (V-CDT)) values range from −1.4 to 3.6 ‰ consistent with the magmatic range, with the exception of stibnite from a Au–Sb–quartz vein, which has δ34S values between −8.1 and −3.1 ‰. The δ34S values of sulfates coexisting with sulfide are between 11.2 and 14.2 ‰; whereas, those from the weathering zone range from 3.7 to 4.3 ‰, indicating supergene sulfates derived from oxidation of hypogene sulfides. The δ13C (Vienna Peedee Belemnite (VPDB)) values of carbonate range from −4.9 to 1.1 ‰ and are higher than magmatic values. The δ18O (V-SMOW) values of magmatic quartz phenocrysts and magmatic least-altered rocks vary between 6.2 and 10.1 ‰ and between 5.0 and 10.1 ‰, respectively, whereas altered magmatic rocks and hydrothermal minerals (quartz and magnetite) are relatively 18O-depleted (4.2 to 7.9 ‰ and −6.3 to 1.5 ‰, respectively). Hydrogen isotope compositions of both least-altered and altered igneous rock samples are D-depleted (from −133 to −161 ‰ Vienna-Standard Mean Ocean Water (V-SMOW)), consistent with differential magma degassing and/or post-crystallization exchange between the rocks and meteoric ground water. Zircon from a chlorite-altered dike has a U–Pb crystallization age of 108.7 ± 0.4 Ma; whereas, the same sample yielded a whole-rock Ar–Ar plateau age of 76.25 ± 0.53 Ma. Likewise, molybdenite Re–Os model ages range from 75.8 to 78.2 Ma, indicating the mineralizing events are genetically related to Late Cretaceous volcano-plutonic intrusions in the area. The molybdenite Re–Os ages difference between the nearby Nucleus (75.9 ± 0.3 to 76.2 ± 0.3 Ma) and Revenue (77.9 ± 0.3 to 78.2 ± 0.3 Ma) mineral occurrences suggests an episodic mineralized system with two pulses of hydrothermal fluids separated by at least 2 Ma. This, in combination with geological features suggest the Nucleus deposit represents the apical and younger portion of the Revenue–Nucleus magmatic-hydrothermal system and may suggest an evolution from the porphyry to the epithermal environments.


Lead Sulfur Oxygen Hydrogen And carbon isotopes Skarn Epithermal Porphyry Ar–Ar plateau age Re–Os geochronology Mountain Freegold Yukon