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Open File Report 47

The distribution of gold and other elements in soils at Mulline, Western Australia

Lintern, M.J. and Butt, C.R.M.

Soils, lateritic gravels, calcretes and saprolites were sampled at the Peach Tree and Lady Gladys gold prospects in the Mulline area, 50 km west of Menzies. Each of these sites has moderate reserves of gold as laterite-hosted deposits that are characterised by ferruginous gravels invaded by pedogenic carbonate.

Strong associations were found between gold and iron, and gold and the alkaline earth metals. In particular, gold distribution appears to be positively correlated with calcium and magnesium in the top 0.5 m of the soil profile and with iron in various zones beneath this. The alkaline earth metals are present as calcite and dolomite and iron as goethite or hematite. The association with Fe oxides is probably related to the formation of the deep lateritic regolith during the Tertiary, whereas the association with the pedogenic carbonates is of more recent origin, related to weathering under recently imposed semi-arid climates. The study has demonstrated the importance of selecting the correct soil horizon when sampling for gold and support similar data from elsewhere in the Yilgarn Block, Western Australia.

Last updated: Thursday, January 06, 2000 08:43 AM



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