Contemporaneous formation of vein-hosted and stratabound gold mineralization at the world-class Dead Bullock Soak mining camp, Australia

Abstract

We investigate the relative and absolute timing associated with the formation of the world-class Dead Bullock Soak (DBS) mining camp. The study area is situated in the Paleoproterozoic Granites-Tanami Gold Province in the Northern Territory, Australia, and consists of five orogenic gold deposits, including the Callie deposit with a resource of 14.2 Moz Au. At DBS, the ore is hosted in Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary rocks and consists of two contrasting styles of mineralization, vein-hosted and stratabound. The vein-hosted mineralization consists of visible gold in quartz, chlorite, carbonate veins preferentially hosted in finely laminated, decarbonized siltstones. In contrast, the stratabound mineralization consists of free gold associated with arsenopyrite concentrated in bedding-parallel sulfide-rich layers, hosted in iron-rich siltstones. This study combines structural and petrographic analysis with detailed U–Pb geochronological data on hydrothermal and metamorphic xenotime and monazite to constrain the relative and isotopic timing of ore formation in the DBS mining camp. The results of this study show that both mineralization styles developed within a series of NE-trending and SE-dipping vein corridors or structural pathways, associated with the development of axial planar fabric related to small-scale F2 folds. U–Pb geochronology shows that both mineralization styles formed at c. 1805 Ma, approximately 35 m.y. after peak metamorphism at c. 1840 Ma. A post-mineralization hydrothermal event is locally remobilizing gold and yields an age of c. 1790 Ma, which provides a minimum age for gold deposition.

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Acknowledgments

This study is part of a PhD project started in March 2016 at the Centre for Exploration Targeting at UWA. Matthew Baggott, Shaun Schmeider, David Haddow, Philippa Sivwright, Alan Hawkins, Leon Griesel, Harvey Jones, Natalie Nguyen, Sam Deed, Rudy Baker, Andy Crawford, Matthew McPhail, and all Newmont Tanami geologists are thanked for providing site access, support and insightful discussions. The authors acknowledge David Maidment for insightful reviews of the manuscript. Rolf L. Romer, Sebastien Meffre, and Leon Bagas are thanked for their comprehensive appraisal of the study and constructive reviews. The authors acknowledge the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterization and Analysis (UWA), a facility funded by the University, State and Commonwealth Governments. This paper was supported by the Hammond and Nisbet fellowship at UWA.

Funding

This work is financially supported by the Newmont Mining Corporation, the Australian Postgraduate Award, and the Mineral Council of Australia.

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Correspondence to Laura Petrella.

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Petrella, L., Thébaud, N., LaFlamme, C. et al. Contemporaneous formation of vein-hosted and stratabound gold mineralization at the world-class Dead Bullock Soak mining camp, Australia. Miner Deposita 55, 845–862 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-019-00902-7

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Keywords

  • Callie deposit
  • Granites-Tanami Gold Province
  • Orogenic gold
  • U–Pb geochronology
  • Epigenetic gold
  • Xenotime
  • Monazite