Application of Alluvial Gold Mineralogy to Exploration of the Central Ranges, Irian Jaya, Indonesia

Artmont G J, ; Palmer K,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Alluvial gold is an ideal exploration tracer to bedrock source and indicator of bedrock mineralisation style because (i) gold occurs in a wide range of deposit types, (ii) primary composition is sensitive to style of mineralisation, and (iii) it is a heavy resistate mineral that is readily preserved and easily sampled. In regional exploration of the Central Ranges of Irian Jaya, alluvial gold mineralogy has been applied to maximise the information return from panned concentrate sampling and to focus exploration effort. Primary gold is a solid solution of Au+Ag¦Cu¦Hg, ¦ trace Pd, Te, and Sb. In general Ag¦Hg increase and Cu decreases with inferred decreasing temperature of formation, and gold from particular mineralisation styles has signature compositions that can be used as indicators of bedrock mineralisation type. Furthermore, the abundance of alluvial gold is an indicator of the economic potential of a catchment. The convergent continental-oceanic plate geology of the Central Ranges is conducive to a wide range of mineralisation styles. Mineralogy of gold in ophiolite, skarn, porphyry, mesothermal vein and possible VHMS environments is characterised from alluvial and bedrock samples, and the use of gold mineralogy in prospecting at regional scale through prospect definition to drilling is demonstrated.
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