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Gold Quartz Vein, Acupan

EPITHERMAL
GOLD DEPOSITS
A LECTURE ON
Antamok Mine, 2005
OUTLINE
INTRODUCTION
Why Is Epithermal Deposit Important?
Historical Perspective
What is an Epithermal Deposit?
Classes of Epithermal Deposits

CHARACTERISTICS OF EPITHERMAL DEPOSITS

KEY PROCESSES IN THE FORMATION OF EPITHERMAL DEPOSITS

HIGH SULFIDATION DEPOSITS

INTERMEDIATE AND LOW SULFIDATION DEPOSITS

GEOTHERMAL WATERS, STEAM HEATED ZONES, WATER TABLE
MOVEMENT

EPITHERMAL VEIN TEXTURES

EXPLORATION IMPLICATIONS
Quartz - truscottite Vein, Lebong Donok, 2007
WHY IS EPITHERMAL
DEPOSIT IMPORTANT?
Saunders 2010 Bonanza Gold From Sleeper Deposit, Nevada
BECAUSE OF GOLD!
Gold Price Today Sept 17, 2010: US$1,273.30 per troy ounce!
Average grade of primary gold discoveries and gold produced over time. Mine production
data for 1950 to 2000 from Mudd (2000) and 2000 to 2010 production data from Fellows
(2010).
What does this means?
The world needs more exploration geologists now and in the
next decade!
THE FUTURE OF GEOLOGY & MINING STUDENTS IS
BRIGHT!
Source: McKeith, Schodde & Baltis, SEG Newsletter April 2010
Peak Au discoveries 1988
Steady decrease from 1990-
2010
Discoveries in late1980s
>200M oz Au/yr
Discoveries in 2010
estimated <80M oz Au
Cost of exploration is
increasing from:
$3/oz 1950 -1960
$20/oz 1980s
$40/oz -2000s
Newly discovered gold resources (including by-product gold) compared to
world gold production (with and without South Africa). Scenarios presented
cover a range of possible resource conversion factors (40 to 100 percent).
Gold from Lebong Tandai Drillcore, 2007
Epithermal Gold Deposits
A very important style of gold deposit
Can be very big:
Lihir, PNG 170 Mt @ 3.5 g/t Au (595 t or 19.13
Moz Au)
Porgera, PNG 85 Mt @ 5.8 g/t Au, 33 g/t Ag (493 t
or 15.85 Moz Au & 2,805 t Ag)
Can be very rich:
Cripple Creek, USA 630 t Au in veins grading 15
to 30 g/t
Hishikari, Japan 264 t Au, Honko veins 70 g/t Au,
49 g/t Ag
White, 2009
Steam rises from the active hydrothermal system
at Ladolam gold mine on Lihir Island, Papua
New Guinea. Ladolam contains ~600 tonnes of
gold and could have formed in 55,000 years.
Photo by K. Brown and S. Simmons.
LIHIR, PNG
PORGERA, PNG
Porgera is a very big gold
and copper deposit in the
highlands of PNG. It is
both an open pit and
underground operation by
Barrick Gold Corporation,
the largest gold mining
company in the world.
Hishikari gold mines Keisen No. 3 vein (left).
The gold grade at Hishikari is 10X the average
of worldwide deposits and contains 264 tonnes
Au (8.5 Moz Au).
The Hishikari mine (above) is located in northern
Kagoshima Prefecture. The hot water seeping
into mineshafts is supplied to the nearby hot
spring spa. Photo credits: National Institute of
Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
(AIST) and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
HISHIKARI MINE, JAPAN
Relative Amounts of Gold

50% Witwatersrand
12% Epithermal
10% Porphyry (+ intrusion hosted)
12% Sediment hosted (incl. 4% Carlin)
9% Greenstone lode (mesothermal or
orogenic)
7% Other (Fe Fm, VHMS, etc.)

Arribas, 2000
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Mining of gold dates back
to prehistoric time
(placer).
Gold ore mined before
2500 BC.
Gold discovered in
California, 1848.
The word epithermal
was defined by W.
Lindgren in 1922 & 1933.

Early underground mining
De Re Metallica, Agricola 1556
What is an Epithermal Deposit?
Epithermal was derived from two Greek words epi above
and therme - hot springs. It refers to deposits formed at low
temperature and shallow depths .
The term Epithermal was first defined by Lindgren
(1922, 1933) based on observations of
-mineralogy of ores and alteration
-textures of ores and alteration
and inferences about
-temperature of deposition
-depth of formation
Quartz-amythest vein, Lebong Tandai
Quartz-amythest vein cut by
white quartz vein, Lebong Tandai
What is an Epithermal Deposit?
Epithermal deposits are recognizable by their
Characteristic minerals and textures
Characteristic hydrothermal alteration mineralogy and
zoning
These characteristics aided by fluid inclusion data indicate
that epithermal deposits
Formed at low temperatures (100 to 320C, typically
160 to 270 Celsius)
Developed at shallow crustal levels (<1 km, typically 50 to
700 m depth below the water table)
Classification of epithermal deposits depends on multiple
features.
Hedinquist et al., 2002; N. White, 2009
Schematic section showing the depositional environment and crustal depth of the
main gold systems. Modified from Poulsen et al. (2000) and Robert (2004)
What is an Epithermal Deposit?
Epithermal deposits include a wide range of deposit styles
they are not all the same!

The different deposit classes are not fully characterized nor
fully understood.

Not all epithermal deposits contain gold some are
dominated by other metals, notably Ag, Zn, Pb, Cu, Sn.

Some are closely related to intrusions, some are not. The
related intrusions need not be porphyry copper-related
intrusions.

Many different terms have been used to classify epithermal
deposits terminology is very confused!
History of Nomenclature for Epithermal Deposits (Sillitoe and Hedinquist, 2003)
Goldfield type Ransome (1907)
Alunitic kaolinic gold
veins
Sericitic zinc-silver veins Gold-silver-adularia veins
Fluoritic tellurium-adularia
gold veins

Emmons (1918)
Gold-alunite deposits Argentite-gold quartz veins
Argentite veins
Base metal veins
Gold quartz veins in rhyolite
Gold telluride veins
Gold selenide veins

Lindgren (1933)
Secondary quartzite Fedorov (1903); Nakovnik (1933)
Acid Alkaline Sillitoe (1977)
Epithermal Buchanan (1981)
Enargite-gold Ashley (1982)
Hot-spring type Giles and Nelson (1982)
High Sulfur Low sulfur Bonham (1986, 1988)
Acid sulfate Adularia-sericite Hayba et al. (1985)
Heald et al. (1987)
High sulfidation Low sulfidation Hedinquist (1987)
Alunite-kaolinite Adularia-sericite Berger and Henley (1989)
Type 1 adularia-sericite Type 2 adularia-sericite Albino and Margolis (1991)
High sulfidation High sulfide + base metals, low
sulfidation
Low sulfide + base metals,
low sulfidation
Sillitoe (1993)
High sulfidation Western andesite assemblage,
low sulfidation
Bimodal basalt-andesite
assemblage, low sulfidation
John et al. (1999), John (2001)
High sulfidation (HS) Intermediate sulfidation (IS) Low sulfidation (LS) Hedinquist et al. (2000)
Three Classes of
Epithermal Deposits
Three classes based on the fluids that formed
the epithermal deposits:

1. High Sulfidation (HS) - Magmatic

2. Intermediate Sulfidation (IS) - Magmatic-Meteoric

3. Low Sulfidation (LS) - Meteoric

N. White, 2009
Au-Ag-Zn-Pb Au-Ag-Cu Au-Ag
N. White 2009
Characteristics
Fluids:
Magmatic dominant in core mixed
with meteoric on margins
Metal Associations:
1 I-type: a) Cu-Au-Ag
b) Zn-Pb-Ag
2 S-type: Sn-Ag (Zn-Pb)
3 A-type: Au-Ag
Alteration:
1a, b and 2: proximal very acid
3 proximal not seen; distal neutral
Examples:
1a) Lepanto, Philippines
1b) Cerro de Pasco, Pero
2 Cerro Rico de Potosi, Bolivia
3 Porgera, PNG
N. White, 2009
Characteristics
Fluids:
Dominantly meteoric, with high
salinity magmatic fluids at depth
Metal Associations:
Ag-Zn-Pb-(Au)
Ag-Zn-Pb-(Cu-Sn)
Alteration:
Mostly neutral pH
Examples:
Fresnillo, Mexico
Comstock, USA
Acupan and Antamok, Philippines
Cikotok, Indonesia
Aisasjur, Indonesia
Modified from N. White, 2009
N. White, 2009
Characteristics
Fluids:
Meteoric ( magmatic)
Metal Associations:
Au-Ag (very minor Zn, Pb)
Alteration:
Hypogene - neutral pH;
Gas condensates - acid
Examples:
McLaughlin, USA
Hishikari, Japan
Lebong Donok, Indonesia
Gunung Pongkor, Indonesia
Waihi, New Zealand
Diwalwal?, Philippines
Epithermal Deposits
Characteristics
Quartz-adularia-clay veinlets, Acupan
Tectonic Setting of Gold-rich
Epigenetic Mineral Deposits
Groves et al., 1998
Styles and
Geometries of
Epithermal
Deposits
Diagram shows the
influence of structural,
hydrothermal and
lithologic controls on
permeability or fluid
conduits.
Sillitoe, 1993
Hydrothermal Alteration LS & HS Epithermal Systems
North Pole Mining District, Pilbara, Western Australia
3.5 billion year-old epithermal vein texture
Tarutung, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Very young opaline vein deposited from hot spring
coming out of a vertical fracture
Ages of Epithermal Deposits
Epithermal deposits are most
common in young environments
(due to preservation, not process)
They can be found whenever
favourable geology is preserved
Youngest deposits are forming
NOW; oldest known are Early
Archean
Epithermal Deposits
Key Processes
Boiling is the critical process to deposit high amount of gold in LS epithermal deposits.
Au concentration in deep water prior to boiling &
gas loss: 10 g/kg
Au concentration in hot spring waters: <0.1 g/kg
Au precipitates during ascent & boiling
Colloform-crustiform banded quartz-
adularia choking a geothermal pipe.
Porgera Zone 7, PNG
Bonanza epithermal quartz
gold-silver mineralization with
wire gold, quartz and roscoelite.
Sleeper Deposit, Nevada
High grade bonanza colloform
banded gold and chalcedony
Corbett, 2002 Saunders, 2010
Silica deposition by cooling
Hedinquist et al., 1998
Tarutung opal vein, North Sumatra
Low sulfidation vein texture, Mc Laughlin,
California, USA (Photo by Y. Matsuhisa)
Silica deposition is
affected by pH
Neutral pH
- Quartz, chalcedony and
amorphous silica deposit
- Spectacular textures!
Acid pH
- Silica deposition
suppressed
- No siliceous veins
Significance of Alunite
Its formation requires
1. Acid conditions
2. High sulfate
3. Available alkalis

These conditions can occur from
1. Magmatic gases (HS)
2. Near-surface condensation of boiled off gases (HS,
IS, LS)
3. From supergene oxidation (any sulfide rich rock)
Lithocap from the Baguio District
Pearly radial cluster
of pyrophyllite,
Hillsboro District,
North Carolina, USA
Radiating fans of golden-
brown pyrophyllite
needles, Champion
Mine, California, USA
High Sulfidation
Deposits
Lepanto Quartz-Alunite Zone
Satsuma volcanichydrothermal
system. 870C fumaroles vent from
summit of rhyolitic dome; acidic
hotspring (pH 1.5) rich in Fe and Al
leached from host rock discharge from
volcano flanks to the sea.
Kawah Ijen: Worlds Largest H
2
SO
4
Crater Lake
Ijen Crater, East Java, Indonesia 1 km wide & 200 m deep lake filled with a sol-
ution of H
2
SO
4
& HCl with a pH of 0.5 & temperature of about 33C.
Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images, 2009
Aluminum can
dissolving in the
acid water of Ijen
Crater.
Somebody having fun rafting in the
highly acidic water of Ijen Crater.
KAWAH IJEN, JAVA
Kawah Ijen, East Java, Indonesia
Condensation of magmatic vapor
+ HCl + SO
2
generates acidic
waters (pH ~1 or less):
Causes leaching of rocks (vuggy
quartz), and hypogene advanced
argillic alteration (alunite, kaolinite)
Kawah Ijen, East Java
Sulfur miners
Lepanto lithocap outcrop to south
From Palidan slide
Mohong Hill
Lithocap
Surface projections:
Lepanto
Far Southeast
Victoria
Lepanto Spanish Adits
Outcrop of Lepanto enargite-luzonite ore
Epithermal Vein Deposits
Low- and Intermediate-
Sulfidation
Aisasjur, Indonesia
Hishikari gold mines Keisen No. 3 vein (left).
The gold grade at Hishikari is 10X the average
of worldwide deposits and contains 264 tonnes
Au (8.5 Moz Au).
The Hishikari mine (above) is located in northern
Kagoshima Prefecture. The hot water seeping
into mineshafts is supplied to the nearby hot
spring spa. Photo credits: National Institute of
Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
(AIST) and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
HISHIKARI MINE, JAPAN
Lebong Donok Gold Mine, Bengkulu, Indonesia
Sumatra Copper and Gold, Ltd.
Lebong Donok Stope Grades
Sumatra Copper and Gold, Ltd.
More than 1.3 Moz Au and >70.5 Moz Ag produced to 1938
3.24 Mt @ 12.8 g/t Au & 70.5 g/t Ag
Donok Vein 3 - colloform
banded quartz-adularia
& vughs
Footwall of Main Donok Vein (qtz-cal-
truscottite) inside Lubang Kacamata
(Eyeglasses Dutch Tunnel)
Donok LS Epithermal Veins
Au - BLEG Ag - BLEG
Aisasjur, West Papua, Indonesia
ASD-28: 6m @ 2.54 g/t Au from 139.3m 145.3m depth
ASD-5 at 266.5m depth: 5.36 g/t Au & 1570
ppm As
ASD-5 at 270.35m depth: 15.6 g/t Au & 4790
ppm As
Aisasjur IS Veins
West Papua, Indonesia
Hydro-brecciated siltstone with
stibnite cement
Macalalad, 2009
Laser ablation of
pyrite from
Aisasjur drillhole
ASD27. Micron
size Au and As
occur at the rims
of the pyrite.
Aisasjur, West Papua,
Indonesia
Geothermal Waters
Steam-heated Zones
Water Table Movement
Neutral pH
chloride water

The deep geothermal fluid
neutral, low salinity
Alters rock to illite, illite-
smectite or smectite
(depending on T)
At surface produces boiling
pools with clear water and
silica sinters
This is the potential ore fluid
for low sulfidation deposits
Tarutung hot spring
North Sumatra, Indonesia
Geothermal Plant, Wairakei, New Zealand
Geothermal Plant, Tiwi, Albay, Photo: NPC
Champagne Pool, Waiotapo, New Zealand
Photo: N. Macalalad, March 2010
Tarutung Hot Spring & Silica Sinter North Sumatra
R. Gonzales, 2006
Tarutung Silica Sinter North Sumatra
R. Gonzales, 2006
Tarutung Silica Sinter North Sumatra
Micro terraces
Stalactites
Spiky tubes and flake
R. Gonzales, 2006
Travertine deposits, Mammoth Hot
Springs, Yellowstone National Park, USA
Acid bicarbonate water

Boiling deep fluids expel steam, CO
2
and H
2
S
Gases condense into groundwater to
produce weakly acid water (H
2
CO
3

and H
2
S)
Alters rock to produce illite-smectite,
calcite and pyrite can be very wide-
spread
Water is clear, spring deposits
travertine
NOT related to ore
Acid sulfate water

Boiled off CO
2
and H
2
S
condense above water table
Atmospheric O
2
oxidizes H
2
S to
H
2
SO
4
strongly acidic
Rock alters to kaolinite and
alunite, partly dissolves
Form steaming ground,
collapsing ground and mud
pools at surface
Colored water
Responsible for silica cap
NOT related to ore
Yellow-green colored lake, NZ (top) and the
colored lakes of Kelimutu, Indonesia (bottom)
Collapsing ground, Rotorua, NZ
Mud Pool, Rotorua, New Zealand
Epithermal Quartz
Vein Textures
Lebong Donok LS Vein Textures
EPITHERMAL QUARTZ VEIN TEXTURES
Primary Growth Textures
Dong, Morrison & Jaireth, 1995
Crustiform
PRIMARY GROWTH TEXTURES
Cockade
Moss
Moss, plane polarized light
Comb
Zonal
Photos: Dong, Morrison & Jaireth, 1995
EPITHERMAL QUARTZ VEIN TEXTURES
Dong, Morrison & Jaireth, 1995
RECRYSTALLIZATION TEXTURES
a. Mosaic aggregates of microcrystalline
quartz crystals with highly irregular and
interpenetrating grain boundaries.
b. Feathery 1:a feathery appearance in
the rims of the crystals with euhedral
cores seen only as slight optical
differences in maximum extinction
positions. In another position (e .g.
bottom center) the quartz crystal
displays a very similar interference
color between the euhedral core and
rims
c. Feathery 2: a feathery appearance
seen as patches throughout quartz
crystals
d. Flamboyant 1: radial or flamboyant
extinction of individual quartz crystals
with more or less rounded crystal
outline.In this sample, the flamboyant
texture is well developed in the rims of
crystalline quartz crystal with more or
less euhedral cores.
e. Flamboyant 2: flamboyant extinctions
seen through the crystals with rounded
surface in bands.
f. Ghost spheres: solid and/or fluid
inclusion defined spheres with thin
microcrystalline quartz crystals.
All samples from Pajingo, Afarti and Crakow (Queensland,
Australia), crossed polars. Scale bars = 0.2 mm
EPITHERMAL QUARTZ VEIN TEXTURES
Dong, Morrison & Jaireth, 1995
REPLACEMENT TEXTURES
a. Lattice bladed: a network of
intersecting silica blades with
polyhedral cavities.
b. Lattice bladed: in thin section, each
blade consists of a series of parallel
seams separated by quartz crystals
or crystallites which have grown
symmetrically about the seams and
perpendicular to them.,B imurraQ,
ueensland
c. Ghost bladed: blades are identified
on the polished surface of the hand
specimens by the concentration of
impurities. This texture commonly
occurs in crustiform bands and lacks
the cavities between blades.
d. Ghost bladed: aggregates of quartz
crystals with superimposhed bladed
texture identified by outlines of
impurities and finer grain size.
e. Parallell bladed: silica blades are
parallel within each group but
adjacent groups have different
orientation.
f. Parallel bladed: each group is
composed of a set of parallel-oriented
quartz crystals which have more or
less rectangular shape.
All samples from Bimurra and Woolgar (Queensland, Australia).
Scale bars = 0.2 mm
REPLACEMENT TEXTURES BLADED QUARTZ, HISHIKARI
Lattice-type Bladed Quartz
Parallel-type Bladed Quartz
Photos: Etoh, Izawa & Watanabe, 2002
REPLACEMENT TEXTURES
a. Pseudoacicular aggregates of silica minerals commonly associated with adularia or its weathered products
(kaolinite or illite) display radial acicular appearance caused by differences in color and/or relief in hand
specimens. b. Pseudoacicular: acicular appearance is indicated under the microscope by linear arrangement of
fine-grained quartz crystals and linear distribution of clay minerals. Crossed polars. c. Saccharoidal: loosely
packed fine-grained quartz aggregate, having sugary appearance in hand specimens. d. Saccharoidal: under
the microscope slender subhedral crystals are randomly distributed in a matrix of smaller anhedral grains.
Crossed polars. All samples from Queensland, Australia. Scale bars = 0.2 mm, metric bars = I cm.
Schematic models of the
formation process of lattice-type
(A) and parallel-type (B) bladed
quartz.

A1, B1 - Precipitation of bladed
calcite

A2, B2 - Precipitation of adularia
and quartz

A3, B3 - Dissolution of calcite

A4 - Subsequent quartz
overgrowth sometimes
occurs
A. Lattice-type B. Parallel-type
Bladed quartz,
Tambang Sawah,
Bengkulu, Indonesia
Etoh, et al., 2002
REFERENCES
Dong, G., Morrison,G and Jareth, S., 1995. Quartz textures in epithermal veins,
Queensland classification, origin, and implications; Economic Geology, Vol.
90, 1995, pp.1841 1856.
Etoh, J., Isawa, E. and Watanabe, K., 2002. Bladed quartz and its relationship to
gold mineralization in the Hishikari low sulfidation epithermal gold deposit,
Japan; Economic Geology, Vol. 97, 2002, pp. 18411851.
Hedinquist, J., Arribas, A., Einaudi, M. and Sillitoe, R., 2002. Abstract: Exploration
for and assessment of epithermal precious-metal deposits: critical
characteristics, and their variations, Denver Region Exploration Geologists
Society.
Saunders, J., 1994. Silica and gold textures in bonanza ores of the Sleeper
Deposit, Humbolt County, Nevada: evidence for colloids and implications for
epithermal ore forming processes; Scientific Communications, Economic
Geology, Vol. 89, 1994, pp. 628-638.
White, N., 2009. Epithermal gold deposits: presentation at Gold Deposit
Workshop 2009, 11-12 October, 2009, Semarang, Indonesia.
White, N. and Hedenquist, J., 1995. Epithermal gold deposits: styles,
characteristics and exploration; SEG Newsletter, 1995, No. 23, pp. 1, 9-13.