Granite-hosted gold mineralization at Timbarra, northern New South Wales, Australia

Mustard, Roger (2001) Granite-hosted gold mineralization at Timbarra, northern New South Wales, Australia. Mineralium Deposita, 36 (6). pp. 542-562.

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Abstract

The Timbarra gold deposits, located in the southern New England Fold Belt of New South Wales, Australia, represent an economically significant and distinctive member of the intrusion-related class of gold deposits. The five known deposits possess a total identified mineral resource of 16.8 Mt at 0.73 g/t gold, for a total of 396,800 contained ounces. The granites in the Timbarra region form a texturally complex, zoned pluton. The gold deposits are found within the Stanthorpe leucomonzogranite (242 to 238 Ma), which intrudes and forms a core to the more mafic, barren, Bungulla monzogranite (248 to 243 Ma). Gold is disseminated in the roof zone (upper 240 m) of a fractionated, magnetite- and ilmenite-bearing, I-type leucomonzogranite phase of the Stanthorpe body. The entire gold resource occurs in the areally extensive main leucomonzogranite pluton and is hosted by a medium- to coarse-grained granite. Disseminated ore is present in all five deposits, comprises >95% of the overall resource at Timbarra, and occurs predominantly as gently dipping, tabular to lenticular bodies that are conformably constrained beneath a fine-grained aplite carapace and internal aplite layers. The disseminated ore consists of gold-bearing muscovite-chlorite-carbonate alteration and infill of primary miarolitic cavities within massive leucomonzogranite or microgranite, and contains no discernable vein, joint, or fracture control at the outcrop or hand specimen scale. Structurally controlled mineralization forms the remaining 5% of the Timbarra resource, and comprises minor, low-density (0.02 to 0.25 per meter), vein-dikes and quartz-molybdenite veins emplaced along steeply dipping east-southeast, east-northeast, and north-northeast striking cooling joints. Both mineralization styles and alteration share a common paragenetic sequence of mineral precipitation. Quartz, perthitic K-feldspar, minor biotite, and albite are the earliest and most abundant infill minerals and commonly line primary cavities and vein-dikes. Subsequent minerals include coeval arsenopyrite, pyrite, fluorite, and molybdenite. The latest minerals include muscovite, chlorite, gold, calcite, silver-bismuth telluride, lead-bismuth telluride, and rare galena and chalcopyrite. The gold ore has a low total sulfide mineral concentration (h1%). Ore contains elevated concentrations of Bi, Ag, Te, As, Mo, and Sb; gold is strongly correlated with Bi, Ag, and Te, but only weakly with Mo, As, and Sb. Gold grains are generally <1 to 50 µm in size, but rarer grains as large as 1 mm in diameter have been observed. Gold fineness ranges from 950 to 600, and varies both within and between individual grains for a given deposit. The moderately oxidized I-type host granite, low-sulfide (h1%) ores, Au-Bi-Ag-Te geochemical signature, muscovite-chlorite-carbonate alteration assemblage, and low-salinity aqueous and carbonic fluids suggest that Timbarra is part of the newly recognized intrusion-related gold deposit class. Timbarra is distinguished from other intrusion-related gold deposits by the disseminated mineralization style within pervasively altered granite, forming gently dipping, tabular to lenticular ore zones.

Item ID: 13342
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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ISSN: 1432-1866
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2010 06:28
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040307 Ore Deposit Petrology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840105 Precious (Noble) Metal Ore Exploration @ 100%
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