Advertisement

Mineralium Deposita

, 44:765 | Cite as

Invisible gold in arsenian pyrite and arsenopyrite from a multistage Archaean gold deposit: Sunrise Dam, Eastern Goldfields Province, Western Australia

  • Y.-H. Sung
  • J. BruggerEmail author
  • C. L. Ciobanu
  • A. Pring
  • W. Skinner
  • M. Nugus
Article

Abstract

The Sunrise Dam gold mine (11.1 Moz Au) is the largest deposit in the Archaean Laverton Greenstone Belt (Eastern Goldfields Province, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia). The deposit is characterized by multiple events of fluid flow leading to repeated alteration and mineralization next to a major crustal-scale structure. The Au content of arsenian pyrite and arsenopyrite from four mineralizing stages (D1, D3, D4a, and D4b) and from different structural and lithostratigraphic environments was measured using in situ laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Pyrite contains up to 3,067 ppm Au (n = 224), whereas arsenopyrite contains up to 5,767 ppm (n = 19). Gold in arsenopyrite (D4a stage) was coprecipitated and remained as “invisible gold” (nanoparticles and/or lattice-bound) during subsequent deformation events. In contrast, gold in pyrite is present not only as “invisible gold” but also as micrometer-size inclusions of native gold, electrum, and Au(Ag)–tellurides. Pristine D1 and D3 arsenian pyrite contains relatively low Au concentrations (≤26 ppm). The highest Au concentrations occur in D4a arsenian-rich pyrite that has recrystallized from D3 pyrite. Textures show that this recrystallization proceeded via a coupled dissolution–reprecipitation process, and this process may have contributed to upgrading Au grades during D4a. In contrast, Au in D4b pyrite shows grain-scale redistribution of “invisible” gold resulting in the formation of micrometer-scale inclusions of Au minerals. The speciation of Au at Sunrise Dam and the exceptional size of the deposit at province scale result from multiple fluid flow and multiple Au-precipitating mechanisms within a single plumbing system.

Keywords

Sunrise Dam Gold Deposit, Eastern Goldfields Province, Western Australia Pyrite Arsenopyrite Invisible gold 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study has been financially supported by an Australian Research Council LINKAGE Grant sponsored by AngloGold Ashanti Australia, PIRSA, and the South Australian Museum. YHS wishes to thank Sarah Gilbert and Leonid Danyushevsky at CODES for LA-ICP-MS analysis and data reduction. We are grateful to Nigel J. Cook for his valuable advice and comments on earlier manuscript. The manuscript benefited from insightful comments by Patrick Williams, Hamid Mumin, and David Lentz.

References

  1. Arehart GB, Chryssoulis SL, Kesler SE (1993) Gold and arsenic in iron sulfides from sediment-hosted disseminated gold deposits: implication for depositional processes. Econ Geol 88:171–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashley PM, Creagh CJ, Ryan CG (2000) Invisible gold in ore and mineral concentrates from the Hillgrove gold-antimony deposits, NSW, Australia. Miner Depos 35:285–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bateman R, Hagemann S (2002) Gold mineralisation throughout about 45 Ma of Achaean orogenesis: protracted flux of gold in the Golden Mile, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Miner Depos 39:536–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown SM, Groves DI, Newton PJN (2002) Geological setting and mineralization model for the Cleo gold deposit, Eastern Goldfields Province, Western Australia. Miner Depos 37:704–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown SM, Johnson CA, Watling RJ, Premo WR (2003) Constraints on the composition of ore fluids and implications for mineralising events at the Cleo gold deposit, Eastern Goldfields Province, Western Australia. Aust J Earth Sci 50:19–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brugger J, Lahaye Y, Costa S, Lambert D, Bateman R (2000) Inhomogeneous distribution of REE in scheelite and dynamics of Archaean hydrothermal systems (Mt. Charlotte and Drysdale gold deposits, Western Australia). Contrib Mineral Petrol 139:251–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brugger J, Etschmann B, Pownceby M, Liu W, Grundler P, Brewe D (2008) Tracking the chemistry of ancient fluids: oxidation state of europium in hydrothermal scheelite. Chem Geol 257:26–33. doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2008.08.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cabri LJ, Chryssoulis SL, DeVilliers JPR, Laflamme JHG, Buseck PR (1989) The nature of “invisible” gold in arsenopyrite. Can Mineral 27:353–362Google Scholar
  9. Cassidy KF, Champion DC, Fletcher IR, Dunphy JM, Black LP, Claoue-Long JC (2002) Geochronological constraints on the Leonora-Laverton transect area, north eastern Yilgarn Craton. In: Cassidy KF (ed) Geology, geochronology and geophysics of the north eastern Yilgarn Craton, with an emphasis on the Leonora-Laverton transect area. Geoscience Australia, Record 2002/18. Geoscience Australia, Symonston, ACT, pp 31–50Google Scholar
  10. Cathelineau M, Boiron MC, Holliger P, Marion P, Denis M (1989) Gold in arsenopyrite: crystal chemistry, location and state, physical and chemical conditions of deposition. In: Keays R, Skinner BJ (eds) Source, transport and deposition of metals. Econ Geol Monograph 6. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 328–341Google Scholar
  11. Ciobanu CL, Gabudeanu B, Cook NJ (2004) Neogene ore deposit and metallogeny of the Golden Quadrilateral, south Apuseni Mountains, Romania. Guidebook of the international field workshop of IGCP project 486, Alba Iulia, Romania, 31 Aug–7 Sep Google Scholar
  12. Ciobanu CL, Cook NJ, Pring A, Brugger J, Danyushevsky L, Shimizu M (2009) ‘Invisible gold’ in bismuth chalcogenides. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 73:1970–1999. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.01.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coleman LC (1957) Mineralogy of the giant Yellowknife gold mine, Yellowknife, N.W.T. Econ Geol 52:400–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cook NJ, Chryssoulis SL (1990) Concentration of “Invisible gold” in the common sulfides. Can Mineral 28:1–16Google Scholar
  15. Danyushevsky L, Robinson P, McGoldrick P, Large R, Gilbert S (2003) LA-ICPMS of sulphides: evaluation of an XRF glass disc standard for analysis of different sulphide matrixes. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 67:A73Google Scholar
  16. Fleet ME, Mumin H (1997) Gold-bearing arsenian pyrite and marcasite and arsenopyrite from Carlin Trend gold deposits and laboratory synthesis. Am Mineral 82:182–193Google Scholar
  17. Fleet ME, Chryssoulis SL, MacLean PJ, Davidson R, Weisener CG (1993) Arsenian pyrite from gold deposits: Au and As distribution investigated by SIMS and EMP, and color staining and surface oxidation by XPS and LIMS. Can Mineral 31:1–17Google Scholar
  18. Genkin AD, Bortnikov NS, Cabri LJ, Wagner FE, Stanley CJ, Safonov YG, McMahon G, Friedl J, Kerzin AL, Gamyanin GN (1998) A multidisciplinary study of invisible gold in arsenopyrite from four mesothermal gold deposits in Siberia, Russian Federation. Econ Geol 93:463–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hallberg JA (1985) Geology and mineral deposits of Leonora-Laverton Area, northeastern Yilgarn Block, Western Australia. Hesperian, Victoria Park, Western Australia, p 140Google Scholar
  20. Johan Z, Marcoux E, Bonnemaison M (1989) Arsénopyrite aurifère: mode de subsitution de Au dans la structure de FeAsS. C R Acad Sci (Paris) 308:185–191Google Scholar
  21. Larocque ACL, Hodgson CJ, Cabri LJ, Jackman JA (1995) Ion-microprobe analysis of pyrite, chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite from the Mobrun VMS deposit in northwestern Quebec: evidence for metamorphic remobilization of gold. Can Mineral 33:373–388Google Scholar
  22. Lentz DR (2002) Sphalerite and arsenopyrite at the Brunswick No. 12 massive sulfide deposit, Bathurst camp, New Brunswick: constraints on P-T evolution. Can Mineral 40:19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu W, Brugger J, Etschamnn B, Testemale D, Hazemann JL (2008) The solubility of nantokite (CuCl(s)) and Cu speciation in low density fluids near the critical isochore: an in-situ XAS study. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:4094–4106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maddox LM, Bancroft GM, Scaini MJ, Lorimer JW (1998) Invisible gold: comparison of Au deposition on pyrite and arsenopyrite. Am Mineral 83:1240–1245Google Scholar
  25. Mair JL, Ojala VJ, Salier BP, Groves DI, Brown SM (2000) Application of stress mapping in cross-section to understanding ore geometry, predicting ore zones and development of drilling strategies. Aust J Earth Sci 47:895–912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McClenaghan SH, Lentz DR, Cabri LJ (2004) Abundance and speciation of gold in massive sulfides of the Bathurst mining camp, New Brunswick, Canada. Can Mineral 42:851–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mernagh TP, Heinrich CA, Mikucki EJ (2004) Temperature gradients recorded by fluid inclusions and hydrothermal alteration at the Mount Charlotte gold deposit, Kalgoorlie, Australia. Can Mineral 42:1383–1403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mikucki EJ (1998) Hydrothermal transport and depositional processes in Archean lode-gold systems: a review. Ore Geol Rev 13:307–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morey AA, Tomkins AG, Bierlein FP, Weinberg RF, Davidson GJ (2008) Bimodal distribution of gold in pyrite and arsenopyrite: examples from the Archean Boorara and Bardoc shear systems, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Econ Geol 103:599–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mumin AH, Fleet ME, Chryssoulis SL (1994) Gold mineralization in As-rich mesothermal gold ores of the Bogosu–Prestea mining district of the Ashanti Gold Belt, Ghana: remobilization of “invisible” gold. Miner Depos 29:445–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Neumayr P, Cabri LJ, Groves DI, Mikucki EJ, Jackman JA (1993) The mineralogical distribution of gold and relative timing of gold mineralization in two Archean settings of high metamorphic grade in Australia. Can Mineral 31:711–725Google Scholar
  32. Newton PGN, Tornatora PMA, Smith R, Clifford M (2002) The Cleo-Sunrise Au deposit, Laverton, WA: contrasting structural styles within a thrust duplex. In: Vearncombe S (ed) Applied structural geology for mineral exploration and mining. International Symposium, Abstract Volume. Aust Inst Geosci Bull 36. Australian Institute of Geoscientists, Perth Business Centre, WA, pp 152–155Google Scholar
  33. Nugus M, Blenkinsop T, Biggam J, Doyle M (2005a) The role of early-formed structure in lode gold mineralisation: the Sunrise Dam gold Mine, Yilgarn Craton, WA. In: Hancock H et al (eds) Best practice and innovation in global mine geology, 29 May–3 June. Publication 64. Economic Geology Research Unit, School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, p 99Google Scholar
  34. Nugus M, Blenkinsop T, McLeod T, Doyle M, Kent M (2005b) Structural control of gold mineralisation by reactivation of backthrusts at Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, Yilgarn Craton, WA. In: Hancock H et al (eds) Best practice and innovation in global mine geology, 29 May–3 June. Publication 64. Economic Geology Research Unit, School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, p 99Google Scholar
  35. Oberthür T, Weiser T, Amanor JA, Chryssoulis SL (1997) Mineralogical siting and distribution of gold in quartz veins and sulfide ores of the Ashanti mine and other deposits in the Ashanti belt of Ghana: genetic implications. Miner Depos 32:2–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pals DW, Spry PG (2003) Telluride mineralogy of the low-sulfidation epithermal Emperor gold deposit, Vatukoula, Fiji. Mineral Petrol 79:285–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pals DW, Spry PG, Chryssoulis S (2003) Invisible gold and tellurium in arsenic-rich pyrite from the Emperor Gold Deposit, Fiji: implications for gold distribution and deposition. Econ Geol 98:479–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pokrovski GS, Kara S, Roux J (2002) Stability and solubility of arsenopyrite, FeAsS, in crustal fluids. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 66:2361–2378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Putnis A (2002) Mineral replacement reactions: from macroscopic observations to microscopic mechanisms. Mineral Mag 66:689–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Reich M, Kesler SE, Utsunomiya S, Palenik CS, Chryssoulis S, Ewing RC (2005) Solubility of gold in arsenian pyrite. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 69:2781–2796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Salier BP, Groves DI, McNaughton NJ, Fletcher IR (2005) Geochronological and stable isotope evidence for widespread gold mineralization from a deep-seated fluid source at ca. 2.65 Ga in the Laverton Gold Province, Western Australia. Econ Geol 100:1363–1388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shackleton JM, Spry PG, Bateman R (2003) Telluride mineralogy of the Golden Mile deposit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Can Mineral 41:1503–1524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sibson RH, Robert FA, Poulsen KH (1988) High-angle reverse faults, fluid-pressure cycling, and mesothermal gold-quartz deposits. Geology 16:551–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Simon G, Huang H, Penner-Hahn JE, Kesper SE, Kao LS (1999a) Oxidation state of gold and arsenic in gold-bearing arsenian pyrite. Am Mineral 84:1071–1079Google Scholar
  45. Simon G, Kesler SE, Chryssoulis S (1999b) Geochemistry and textures of gold-bearing arsenian pyrite, Twin Creeks, Nevada: implications for deposition of gold in Carlin-type deposits. Econ Geol 94:405–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sung Y-H, Ciobanu CL, Pring A, Brugger J, Skinner W, Cook NJ, Nugus M (2007) Tellurides from Sunrise Dam gold deposit, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: a new occurrence of nagyágite. Mineral Petrol 91:249–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tarnocai CA, Hattori K, Cabri LJ (1997) “Invisible” gold in sulfides from the Campbell mine, Red Lake greenstone belt, Ontario: evidence for mineralization during the peak of metamorphism. Can Mineral 35:805–815Google Scholar
  48. Tenailleau C, Pring A, Etschmann B, Brugger J, Grguric B, Putnis A (2006) Transformation of pentlandite to violarite under mild hydrothermal conditions. Am Mineral 91:706–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thébaud N, Philippot P, Rey P, Brugger J, Van Kranendonk M, Grassineau N (2008) Polyphased fluid–rock interaction in the mid-Archaean and implication of gold pre-concentration: example from the Warrawoona Syncline (WA). Earth Planet Sci Lett 272:639–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vaughan JP (2004) The process mineralogy of gold: the classification of ore types. JOM 56:46–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vaughan JP, Kyin A (2004) Refractory gold ores in Archaean greenstones, Western Australia: mineralogy, gold paragenesis, metallurgical characterization and classification. Mineral Mag 68:255–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wu X, Deldove F (1989) Hydrothermal synthesis of gold-bearing arsenopyrite. Econ Geol 84:2029–2032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Xia F, Zhou J, Brugger J, Ngthai Y, O’Neill B, Chen G, Pring A (2008) A novel route to synthesize complex metal sulfides: hydrothermal coupled dissolution-reprecipitation reactions. Chem Mater 20:2809–2817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Xia F, Brugger J, Chen G, Ngothai Y, O’Neill B, Punis A, Pring A (2009) Mechanism and kinetics of pseudomorphic mineral replacement reactions: a case study of the replacement of pentlandite by violarite. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 73:1945–1969. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.01.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yang S, Blum N, Rahders E, Zhang Z (1998) The nature of invisible gold in sulfides from the Xianxi Au–Sb–W ore deposits in northwestern Hunan, People’s Republic of China. Can Mineral 36:1361–1372Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y.-H. Sung
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Brugger
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • C. L. Ciobanu
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Pring
    • 2
    • 3
  • W. Skinner
    • 1
  • M. Nugus
    • 4
  1. 1.Ian Wark Research InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaMawson LakesAustralia
  2. 2.Division of MineralsSouth Australian MuseumAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Sunrise Dam Gold MineAngloGold Ashanti Australia LtdLavertonAustralia

Personalised recommendations