Gold Mineralisation in the Northern East Kimberley Gold District, Western Australia

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Most orebodies have cross-sections of less than 1 km2 and hence do not offer a particularly large target for exploration. Fortunately, although in the geological record ore deposits are small and rare and result from the exceptional coincidence of certain geological processes, these processes are mappable on a much larger, district to regional scale and constitute a mineral system in which the ore deposit is the central feature. A mineral system can therefore be defined as `all geological factors that control the generation and preservation of mineral deposits, and stress the processes that are involved in mobilising ore components from a source, transporting and accumulating them in more concentrated fonn and then preserving them throughout the subsequent geological history'. The mineral system concept emphasises that for many ore deposit types, although economically viable mineralisation may only occur on a scale of say, hundreds of metres, the total system of fluid-rock interactions that led to ore formation can extend over a distance of tens to hundreds of kilometres around the deposit. When mapped out, the total mineral system provides a far larger exploration target than the actual ore deposit itself. Important geological factors defining the characteristics of any mineralising system include: 1. sources of the mineralising fluids and transporting ligands; 2. sources of the metals and other ore components; 3. migration pathway; 4. thermal gradient; 5. energy source; 6. a mechanical and structural focusing mechanism at the trap site; 7. chemical and/or physical traps for ore precipitation. Many of these factors individually are common throughout time and space and are mappable on a regional scale. The delineation and empirical prediction of mineral systems can thus be approached by combining two components of metallogenic research. Firstly, the development of maps of regional geoscientific data and data sets of the distribution of factors significant for mineral systems in general. Secondly, the determination of the essential ingredients of particular styles or types of deposits in terms of mappable elements that any exploration program could focus on.
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