The Red Rock Deposit: A Late Permian Submarine Epithermal Precious Metal System in Northeastern New South Wales

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The epithermal silver-gold Red Rock Deposit is hosted in the Late Permian inter- mediate to silicic composition Drake Volcanics of New England, N.S.W. This deposit represents one of the few low sulfur epithermal precious metal systems in eastern Australia, and differ! from epithermal models in that the hydrotherma: system which produced mineralization was active in a shallow water marine environment. The Red Rock Deposit has a resource of 180,000 tonnes of 66g/t Ag and 0.9 g/t Au, and a Ag:Au ratio of 70:1. Mineralization is largely associated with hydrothermal brecciation, and occurs as disseminations, vein stockworks, and struc- turally controlled lodes. Ore minerals comprise acanthite (argentite), electrum, native Ag, Ag- sulfosalts and base metal sulfides, Alteration minerals associated with ore are quartz, cal- cite, adularia, pyrite, illite, illite-mont- morillonite, chlorite and sphene (leucoxene). Illitic and propylitic alteration zones sur- round the hydrothermal breccia. Bulk rock analyses indicate that alteration is character- ized by the addition of Si, K, Fe, Mg and the loss of Na and Ca. Ore was deposited from a boiling fluid in a temperature range of 222- 295¦C, and of 0.5-7 wt. Z NaCl equivalent sal- inity. An upper hydrostatic depth limit of about 800 m is implied for the boiling fluid ii an open vein. Sulfur isotopes indicate a mag- matic sulfur source, and oxygen isotopes imply a predominantly marine ore fluid. Modern analogs of the submarine hydrothermal system that formed the Red Rock Deposit occur in the Taupo Zone, New Zealand, and southern Kyushu, Japan.
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