Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 863–881 | Cite as

Age constraints on the hydrothermal history of the Prominent Hill iron oxide copper-gold deposit, South Australia

  • Bryan Bowden
  • Geoff Fraser
  • Garry J DavidsonEmail author
  • Sebastien Meffre
  • Roger Skirrow
  • Stuart Bull
  • Jay Thompson


The Mesoproterozoic Prominent Hill iron-oxide copper–gold deposit lies on the fault-bound southern edge of the Mt Woods Domain, Gawler Craton, South Australia. Chalcocite–bornite–chalcopyrite ores occur in a hematitic breccia complex that has similarities to the Olympic Dam deposit, but were emplaced in a shallow water clastic–carbonate package overlying a thick andesite–dacite pile. The sequence has been overturned against the major, steep, east–west, Hangingwall Fault, beyond which lies the clastic to potentially evaporitic Blue Duck Metasediments. Immediately north of the deposit, these metasediments have been intruded by dacite porphyry and granitoid and metasomatised to form magnetite–calc–silicate skarn ± pyrite–chalcopyrite. The hematitic breccia complex is strongly sericitised and silicified, has a large sericite ± chlorite halo, and was intruded by dykes during and after sericitisation. This paper evaluates the age of sericite formation in the mineralised breccias and provides constraints on the timing of granitoid intrusion and skarn formation in the terrain adjoining the mineralisation. The breccia complex contains fragments of granitoid and porphyry that are found here to be part of the Gawler Range Volcanics/Hiltaba Suite magmatic event at 1600–1570 Ma. This indicates that some breccia formation post-dated granitoid intrusion. Monazite and apatite in Fe-P-REE-albite metasomatised granitoid, paragenetically linked with magnetite skarn formation north of the Hangingwall Fault, grew soon after granitoid intrusion, although the apatite experienced U–Pb–LREE loss during later fluid–mineral interaction; this accounts for its calculated age of 1544 ± 39 Ma. To the south of the fault, within the breccia, 40Ar–39Ar ages yield a minimum age of sericitisation (+Cu+Fe+REE) of dykes and volcanics of ∼1575 Ma, firmly placing Prominent Hill ore formation as part of the Gawler Range Volcanics/Hiltaba Suite magmatic event within the Olympic Cu–Au province of the Gawler Craton.


Proterozoic Gawler Craton Iron oxide copper–gold Geochronology Argon Prominent Hill 



We are greatly indebted to the original Minotaur Exploration NL company and in particular to Tony Belperio for financially and logistically supporting this project. Valuable project support was additionally provided at this time by Geoscience Australia, PIRSA and Goldstream NL. Subsequently, OZ Minerals kindly provided the logistic and financial support, as a part of a larger project, to complete the zircon dating; we gratefully acknowledge this contribution. In particular, Kerrin Gale, Hamish Freeman and Pat Williams all played valuable parts in the publishing of this work. Susan Belford work is thanked for her kind work on some figures and Sandrin Fieg for his help with SEM image acquisition. We thank the anonymous reviewer for their careful comments; thanks also to Bernd Lehmann for his patient editorial handling, and Bunavilla Gabuna for her help in easing the manuscript into print.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Bowden
    • 1
    • 2
  • Geoff Fraser
    • 3
  • Garry J Davidson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sebastien Meffre
    • 1
  • Roger Skirrow
    • 3
  • Stuart Bull
    • 1
  • Jay Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits (CODES)University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.BelmontAustralia
  3. 3.Resources DivisionGeoscience AustraliaCanberraAustralia

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