Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 109, Issue 5, pp 531–553 | Cite as

Orogenic-type copper-gold-arsenic-(bismuth) mineralization at Flatschach (Eastern Alps), Austria

  • Johann G. RaithEmail author
  • Thomas Leitner
  • Werner H. Paar
Original Paper


Structurally controlled Cu-Au mineralization in the historic Flatschach mining district (Styria, Austria) occurs in a NE–SW to NNE–WSW oriented vein system as multiple steep-dipping calcite-(dolomite)-quartz veins in amphibolite facies metamorphic rocks (banded gneisses/amphibolites, orthogneisses, metagranitoids) of the poly-metamorphosed Austroalpine Silvretta-Seckau nappe. Vein formation postdated ductile deformation events and Eoalpine (Late Cretaceous) peak metamorphism but predated Early to Middle Miocene sediment deposition in the Fohnsdorf pull-apart basin; coal-bearing sediments cover the metamorphic basement plus the mineralized veins at the northern edge of the basin. Three gold-bearing ore stages consist of a stage 1 primary hydrothermal (mesothermal?) ore assemblage dominated by chalcopyrite, pyrite and arsenopyrite. Associated minor minerals include alloclasite, enargite, bornite, sphalerite, galena, bismuth and matildite. Gold in this stage is spatially associated with chalcopyrite occurring as inclusions, along re-healed micro-fractures or along grain boundaries of chalcopyrite with pyrite or arsenopyrite. Sericite-carbonate alteration is developed around the veins. Stage 2 ore minerals formed by the replacement of stage 1 sulfides and include digenite, anilite, “blue-remaining covellite” (spionkopite, yarrowite), bismuth, and the rare copper arsenides domeykite and koutekite. Gold in stage 2 is angular to rounded in shape and occurs primarily in the carbonate (calcite, Fe-dolomite) gangue and less commonly together with digenite, domeykite/koutekite and bismuth. Stage 3 is a strongly oxidized assemblage that includes hematite, cuprite, and various secondary Cu- and Fe-hydroxides and -carbonates. It formed during supergene weathering. Stage 1 and 2 gold consists mostly of electrum (gold fineness 640–860; mean = 725; n = 46), and rare near pure gold (fineness 930–940; n = 6). Gold in stage 3 is Ag-rich electrum (fineness 350–490, n = 12), and has a high Hg content (up to 11 mass %). The Cu-Au deposits in the Flatschach area show similarities with meso- to epizonal orogenic lode gold deposits regarding the geological setting, the structural control of mineralization, the type of alteration, the early (stage 1) sulfide assemblage and composition of gold. Unique about the Flatschach district is the lower-temperature overprint of copper arsenides (domeykite and koutekite) and copper sulfides (djurleite, yarrowite/spionkopite) on earlier formed sulfide mineralization. Based on mineralogical considerations temperature of stage 2 mineralization was between about 70 °C and 160 °C. Gold was locally mobilized during this low-temperature hydrothermal overprint as well as during stage 3 supergene oxidation and cementation processes.


Pyrite Chalcopyrite Gold Deposit Arsenopyrite Bornite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to Universalmuseum Joanneum, namely Bernd Moser and Hans-Peter Bojar, for providing historic polished sections and ore samples from the so-called “Friedrich Archiv” at Universalmuseum. Helmut Mühlhans and Federica Zaccarini are thanked for assistance with electron microprobe analyses, Ronald Bakker for assistance with Laser Raman spectroscopy. Ralf Schuster, Alexander Schmiderer and Heinz Mali are thanked for introducing us to the field area. We thank Albert Schedl for providing unpublished maps and documents from archives of Geologische Bundesanstalt in Vienna. Gerd Rantisch is thanked for redrawing Fig. 2. Noricum Gold Ltd., namely Greg Künzel, is thanked for financing of this project and permission to publish results of an exploration project. We acknowledge the constructive reviews by L. Diamond and P. Spry.

Supplementary material

710_2015_391_MOESM1_ESM.docx (92 kb)
Electronic supplementary material appendix 1 (DOCX 91 kb)
710_2015_391_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Electronic supplementary material appendix 2 (XLSX 15 kb)
710_2015_391_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (44 kb)
Electronic supplementary material appendix 3 (XLSX 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann G. Raith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Leitner
    • 3
  • Werner H. Paar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Geosciences and GeophysicsMontanuniversitaet LeobenLeobenAustria
  2. 2.SalzburgAustria
  3. 3.Salinen Austria AGBad AusseeAustria

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