Trace element associations in magnetite and hydrothermal pyrite from the Geita Hill gold deposit, Tanzania

Van Ryt, M.R., Sanislav, I.V., Dirks, P.H.G.M., and Huizenga, J. (2020) Trace element associations in magnetite and hydrothermal pyrite from the Geita Hill gold deposit, Tanzania. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 209. 106418.

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Gold mineralization in the Geita Hill deposit is associated with pyrite formed along microfracture networks and sulfidation fronts together with K-feldspar and biotite. The sulfidation fronts are best developed in magnetite-bearing ironstone. The gold is present mainly as electrum and gold tellurides along grain boundaries, and as inclusions in pyrite, quartz, biotite and K-feldspar. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analyses of pyrite and magnetite grains reflect complex fluid-host rock interactions. Magnetite textures and chemistry change with alteration intensity, indicating the progression of the alteration front into the host rock. Pyrite textures are uniform across all rock types and reflect late-tectonic growth linked to multi-staged infiltration of hydrothermal fluids. Trace element distribution patterns in pyrite are locally complex and influenced by host rock chemistry.

Gold distribution patterns in pyrite correlate closely with Te, Ag, Bi and Pb, indicating that gold occurs in micro- and nano-inclusions of telluride minerals. This is especially so for gold in quartz veins, whereas gold in ironstone and diorite also occurs as electrum with an average Au/Ag ratio of 0.41. As, Co and Ni in pyrite are lattice bound and occur in high concentrations in ironstone and diorite where they show characteristic growth zoning patterns. Pyrite in quartz veins has As, Co and Ni concentrations that are low and variable. Cr, Cu, Mo, Mn and Zn are present in all rock types in isolated inclusions in pyrite grains, whilst Pb, Bi and Sb occur in more dispersed patches of fine clustered inclusions. The Se content in pyrite is typical for Archean gold deposits, and reflects an average temperature of ~340 °C for the mineralizing fluid. The Co/Ni ratio of pyrite grains varies between 0 and 5.2 in ironstone and diorite, and most likely reflects the equilibration Co/Ni ratio of the host rock. The Co/Ni ratio of pyrite grains in quartz veins varies between 1 and 12, and is consistent with a magmatic-hydrothermal origin for the ore fluid. Trace element distribution patterns in magnetite and pyrite indicate that As, Ni, Co, Cr, Mn and Cu were mostly locally derived, and remobilised into the pyrite during sulfidation of the host rock. The concentrations of these elements are strongly lithologically controlled, and they are not consistently incorporated into the pyrite after initial stages of growth. Au, Ag, Te, Bi and Pb were externally derived, and closely correlate in all varieties of pyrite as well as strongly altered magnetite. The alteration footprint of the Geita Hill deposit is limited in extent, and does not involve As and Sb that are typically enriched in Archaean lode-gold systems. Instead, Te and Bi are most characteristic for the deposit and could be of use as path finder elements together with altered magnetite grains.

Item ID: 61151
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0375-6742
Keywords: archean Gold, Greenstone Belt, LA-ICP-MS, pyrite trace element analysis
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Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Van Ryt, Matthew (2019) The mineralisation, alteration paragenesis and hydrothermal fluids at the Geita Hill gold deposits, NW Tanzania. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Geita Gold Mine, Tanzania, Anglogold Ashanti, Tanzania
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2019 05:06
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3703 Geochemistry > 370301 Exploration geochemistry @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370508 Resource geoscience @ 50%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840105 Precious (Noble) Metal Ore Exploration @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 50%
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