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Open File Report 98

Progress statement for the Kalgoorlie study area - Argo deposit, Western Australia

Lintern, M.J. and Gray, D.J.

Investigations from previous AMIRA Projects have indicated that Au deposits may have geochemical expression throughout the regolith. In Project 409, knowledge gained from these earlier projects, dominantly in areas of erosional and relict landforms, is being extended to determine whether previously developed methods can be applied or adapted to depositional regimes. In the Kalgoorlie area, the work programme has been to investigate potential sample media in the transported regolith above mineralization at a number of dominantly palaeochannel environments. Specifically, the study has investigated the presence of:

  1. Gold in surficial horizons;
  2. Sub-surface gold in transported overburden;
  3. Pathfinder elements in transported and relict regolith and bedrock.

This progress statement summarizes the recent investigations undertaken at the Argo gold deposit (Western Mining Company Ltd) located 25 km south of Kambalda. The Argo site was chosen for further study for many reasons including the high grade Au mineralization, the variation in the depth of cover from about 10 m to several tens of metres, the remoteness of the deposit from potential contributing upstream sources and the future exposure of the mining pit, allowing sampling from, and examination of, the pit wall.

The results indicate:

  1. Soil gold values are generally low (mean <10 ppb) with anomalous gold contents (>15 ppb) located 200m from mineralization.
  2. Total, water- and iodide-soluble gold values are not anomalous over mineralization.
  3. Gold is associated with the distribution of soil moisture in the top metre of the profile.
  4. Gold is associated with calcium in the top metre of the soil profile.
  5. Gold in vegetation does not locate mineralization.
  6. Gold is present in groundwaters over mineralization.
  7. Tungsten, in a variety of sample media (samples from the transported overburden, saprolite, bedrock) appears to be a pathfinder for gold mineralization.
  8. Lignitic material appears to scavenge gold and is a useful sample medium in the transported overburden.

More information needs to be gathered from the Argo area. Specifically, there is a need:

  1. To extend the auger line(s) to the west and east to establish true background concentrations. Soil pits may be required to examine the gold distribution in detail. Furthermore, by extending to the east, the high proportion of water extractable gold (relative to total gold) can be investigated.
  2. To construct a regolith map to put the study site in the context of the surrounding landforms. The results suggest that there may be anomalous gold concentrations in a clay pan adjacent to the Argo deposit.
  3. To determine the significance of the anomalous total gold results from the auger traverse on 525800N by examining and sampling a soil profile(s).
  4. To analyse lignite from the transported overburden for gold to determine its significance as a sample medium for gold exploration in this district.
  5. To examine the potential of tungsten as a pathfinder for gold mineralization.

Last updated: Sunday, August 05, 2001 11:51:00


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