The Exploration Signature of the Coronation Hill Gold, Palladium and Platinum Deposit

Jagodzinski E A, ; Morse M P, ; Whitaker A, ; Cruickshank B I, ; Pyke J G,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Very little public domain information is available on the exploration signature of the Coronation Hill Au+Pd+Pt deposit. From 1987 to 1990 the BMR (now AGSO) carried out geological, geophysical and geochemical (whole-rock, stream, soil and rock chip) surveys within the South Alligator and Kakadu Conservation Zones and defined several key parameters useful for exploration programs. The essential geological ingredients for the style of Coronation Hill Au+Pd+Pt¦U deposit are oxidised, low pH fluids, dilatant fault structures, a thick neutral to oxidised cover sequence and chemical traps in the basement. In geophysical data, the areas surrounding the mineralisation can be detected by airborne magnetics as major lows in magnetite-rich rocks, whereas in airborne gamma-ray spectrometry data, imaged spectrometric channel ratios such as U2/I'h and U2/K highlighted alteration surrounding the deposits. Three types of stream-sediment and soil samples were taken from each site: (1) -1 mm mesh, 5 kg sample for bulk cyanide leach (BCL) analysis for Au, Pd, and Pt; (2) 1 kg sample of -1 mm mesh sediment for fire assay/ICPMS analysis for Au, Pt and Pd; and (3) 50 g - 180¦ mesh sample for a variety of trace element analyses, including Au, Pd and Pt. Techniques 2 and 3 gave similar results for Au, Pt and Pd, while the recovery rates for Pd and Pt from the BCL samples were considerably lower. Other trace elements did not define unique indicators for Pt or Pd mineralisation, as each sample reflected the dominant lithology in the drainage basin. Rock chip surveys were useful in determining which faults were associated with the ore fluid in regions of multiple fracturing. Results from these exploration-style surveys also confirmed that the Coronation Hill deposit is a variant of the unconformity-style of mineralisation, as all significant geochemical and/or geophysical results occur at or below the unconformity.
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