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Open File Report 95

Geochemical studies of the soil at the Runway Gold Prospect, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Lintern, M.J.

The CSIRO-AMIRA Project "Exploration in Areas of Transported Overburden, Yilgarn Craton and Environs" (Project 409) has, as its principal objective, development of geochemical methods for mineral exploration in areas with substantial transported overburden, through investigations of the processes of geochemical dispersion from concealed mineralization. The Project has two main themes. One of these, 'Surface and subsurface expression of concealed mineral deposits' is addressed by this report, which focuses on the soil geochemistry of the Runway Au prospect (Kalgoorlie Area).

This study is located in the northern part of the Runway Au prospect where the thickness of transported material is less than 2 m, and the depth to mineralization (beneath barren saprolite) is of the order of 50 m. While the thickness of transported material is not substantial, the great thickness of barren saprolite provides an important contrast with depositional terrain environments from the Kalgoorlie area which have similar thicknesses of barren overburden. It is considered that a detailed study of the nature of Au in surficial material from such an environment will enhance our understanding of the processes whereby Au may (or may not) be enriched in the surficial environment in areas of substantially transported material.

The results for this study are summarized below:

  1. Surficial samples (0 - 2 m) are anomalous in Au, As, Sb and W. Multi-element geochemistry may be a useful adjunct exploration tool in this area since data from KCGM indicate that As, Sb and W are associated with mineralization;
  2. Gold appears to be associated with carbonate in surficial material, but it is also present in saprolite, which occurs close to the surface;
  3. Partial extraction techniques indicate that the proportions of water-soluble Au are lower and iodide-soluble Au higher than for areas of deeply transported cover;
  4. Biogeochemical data indicate that some Au is present in bluebush samples overlying mineralization but that the data are close to detection;
  5. Selection and analysis of components within samples may be used to enhance concentrations in excess of the bulk sample concentration for selected elements; Au concentrations may be higher in the calcareous and/or ferruginous granule component of the sample.

Last updated: Friday, July 21, 2000 04:24 PM


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