Brecciation, Mineralisation and Alteration of the Kidston Gold Deposit

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Kidston breccia pipe is situated approximately 280 km west northwest of Townsville, north Queensland. It is currently Australia's largest gold producer with production varying between 8,000 and 16,000 tonnes of ore per day. Current reserves are estimated at 36.2 million tonnes averaging 1.74 C/t Au and 2.21 g/t Ag. Alluvial gold in the gullies surrounding the deposit was first discovered in the 1880's and between 1907 and 1948 small scale open cut and underground mining was undertaken. Advances in extractive metallurgy and an increase in the gold price were major factors influencing the recent exploration and development of large scale mining of the deposit by Placer Pacific and Kidston Gold Mines. The breccia pipe is trapezoid in shape with surface dimensions of 1100 m by 900 m. Clasts show only limited evidence of mixing during brecciation, with the pre-breccia stratigraphy still discernible on the basis of clast types. This lack of mixing together with the intimate association with intrusive activity, suggests that the brecia formed by collapse, probably associated with the escape of a large volume of irothermal fluid from a crystallising hatholith. Mineralisation and alteration are also sratially and temporally associated with rhyolite emplacement and brecciation. Pre-breccia mineralisation consists of laminated stockwork quartz veins associated with muscovite, quartz and orthoclase-epidote alteration. Stockwork veins contain either anomalous molybdenite or gold. Uneconomic early stage post-breccia mineralisation and alteration consists of cavity infill quartz-epidote and calcite associated with potassic and propylitic alteration respectively. Economic late stage post-breccia cavity infill and sheeted veining consists of quartz-carbonate-sulphide infill associated with phyllic alteration. The grade of gold mineralisation generally decreases downwards in the system with an increase in the amount of pyrrhotite relative to pyrite. Pre-breccia stockwork quartz veins mineralisation is genetically related to the
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