The Kerimenge-Lemenge Gold Prospect, Morobe Goldfield, Papua New Guinea

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1997
Gold mineralisation at the Kerimenge-Lemenge prospects is a classical example of myltiple, overprinting events, associated with intrusive-related hydrothermal systems. Repeated emplacement of high level dacitic porphyry bodies (Edie Porphyry; 2.4 - 3.8 Ma) was accompanied by a phreatomagmatic eruption which formed a diatreme-maar complex. Later hydrothermal fluids utilised permeable fault zones and diatreme contacts. Mineralisation took place during two main events. Stage I consists of early quartz - illite/sericite - carbonate phase with associated pyrite-arsenopyrite mineralisation. This phase is zoned from quartz - sericite-pyrite/arsenopyrite in the south at depth, to dominantly manganocarbonate - illitic clay - arsenopyrite- pyrite_s significant base metals in the north and at shallow levels. The majority of known gold (18.1 Mt @ 2.0 g/t Au) at Kerimenge is associated with Stage I activity. The gold occurs primary within the lattice of the sulphides and is metallurgically refractory. Fluid inclusion studies indicate early boiling and progressive cooling and dilution of hydrothermal fluids during the evolution of the Stage I event. Near paleosurface condensation of gases, which evolved off the boiling system at depth, produced abundant low pH bicarbonate fluids. During the waning phases of Stage I activity, these bicarbonate condensate fluids descended down permeable structures and formed banded manganocarbonate veins. High grade non-refractory gold mineralisation during Stage II event is restricted to favourable structures at relatively shallow levels and in the northern regions of the prospect area. Gold in this event exhibits a distinctive Au - Ag - Te -Cu geochemical signature, and is associated with hessite - tennantite - chalcopyrite mineralisation within quartz veining. Alteration and fluid inclusion studies indicate that this style of mineralisation is a result of the quenching of pulses of hot, late magmatic mineralised fluids by the cold condensate waters.
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