The Formation of the Quartz-Gold-Telluride Veins of the Emperor Mine, Fiji

Solomon M, ; Walshe JL,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Emperor vein system lies on the eastern margin of the Tavua volcanic structure. This is of Miocene age and occurs in basalts(the Mba Volcanics) probably underlain at about 2 km by calcite-rich sediments (the Vatukoro Formation). The lodes are generally flatmakes, or steep fault fillings, or complex shatter zones, and consist of quartz and altered wall rock. In areas of open cavities it is possible to establish a paragenesis which involves five quartz stages and two ore mineral stages. The first ore stage contains calaverite, krennerite, sylvanite and native tellurium, the second petzite, hessite and native gold. The quartz stages are thought to have formed slowly (102 years) from boiling solutions of low salinity at temperatures varying with time from about 250¦C to 190¦C. The system was sealed, the temperature gradient near vertical and the mass flux small. The ore mineral stages probably formed relatively rapidly (101years) from boiling solutions at 250¦ to 200¦C when the system was mainly open. Gold deposition was probably largely a result of fall in aH2S due to boiling, the calculated solution concentration falling from a maximum of about 8 ppb at 250¦C to about 8.10-3ppb at 200¦C. Boiling is also probably responsible for an increase in a02 (by loss of H2) and fall in aTe2 (by loss of H2Te). The fluids are thought to have had a large component of meteoric water and to have been heated by plutons in the core of the volcanic structure. Stable isotope data indicate that they derived their carbon from the underlying Vatukoro Formation and their sulphur from sediments. Circulation may have been confined to the outside of the volcanic structure because of the relatively low permeability of the flows, pyroclastics and dykes within it.
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