Exploration of the Porgera Gold Deposit

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Porgera gold deposit in the Papua New Guinea highlands contains about 387 tonnes of gold. The results of its exploration show the benefits of persistence and commitment to this difficult deposit. The mineralization consists of a complex intermix of auriferous and argentiferous sulphides, gold tellurides and free gold as disseminations, veins, stockworks and breccia matrix. Its deposition was structurally contolled within a system of mafic diorite intrusions and adjacent sediments. Two styles of alteration accompany the mineralization. Gold grades vary erratically throughout the deposit. Over a period of 22 years nine phases of exploration have been undertaken by six companies or consortia of companies. Surface rock chip sampling, geological mapping followed by scout and systematic grid diamond drilling have been the most successful exploration tools. Exhaustive metallurgical process investigations and economic evaluations of mining options have been invaluable in guiding the exploration towards defining the ore body. Impetus was given to the project during times of flagging enthusiasm by several important discoveries and a breakthrough in the metallurgical processing approach. The discovery of high grade ore deep in Zone VII in 1984 turned this marginal deposit into a potentially very large gold mine.
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