The exploration history, geology and metallurgy of a High Sulphidation Epithermal gold deposit at Wafi River, Papua New Guinea

Craighead GA, ; Halfpenny R, ; Lewis PJ,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
Exploration drilling by Joint Venture partners CRA Exploration Pty Ltd and Elders Mining PNG Pty Ltd has discovered a signif- icant copper and gold deposit at the Wafi River prospect, 60km WSW of Lae in Papua New Guinea. An indicated resource of 18Mt at 2.5g/t Au using a lg/t cutoff has been delineated in Zone A. No estimate has been determined for the separate copper occurr- ence at Rafferty's Zone but the copper will be significant to the project. Metallurgical studies on the gold indicate that the primary ore is refractory to direct cyanidation giving a highly variable and inadequate response. All conventional refractory ore oxidation techniques perform well on both ore and pyrite concentrate and oxidation occurs rapidly. No metallurgical studies on the copper mineralisation have been undertaken. Hypogene covellite and chalcocite copper mineralisation is associated with an intensely quartz-stockworked, and quartz and alunite-altered intrusive. Economically significant gold mineralisation occurs in distal subhorizontal lenses, within a sedimentary host, that plunge toward the intrusive. These lenses are sandwiched between overlying quartz and alunite-altered zones and underlying quartz and smectite zones in a mixed zone of quartz, dickite, kaolinite and illite alteration. The alteration and mineralisation is classified as a high sulphidation, epithermal style resulting from the influx of hot, acid magmatic fluids. Preliminary land ownership, road access, power supply and mine infrastructure studies are in progress. The project is currently at an advanced exploration stage.
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