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Open File Report 100

Further geochemical studies of the soil at the Steinway Gold Prospect, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Lintern, M.J. and Craig, M.A.

This study is located in the central and northern part of the prospect where the thickness of transported overburden is variable but greater than 20 m, and the depth to mineralization is about 30 to 40 m. The great thickness of sediments is similar to other sites within the Kalgoorlie area studied in this project, but the presence of the Au at the surface makes it highly unusual. It was considered that a more detailed study of the nature of Au in the 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 as a result of its proximity to the buried mineralization.

The principal results are summarized as follows:

  1. Microscopically visible Au was present in some ferruginous granules;
  2. Gold concentrations of individual ferruginous granules are extremely variable, ranging from <40 to 1500 ppb;
  3. Total Au content of coarse material are weakly related to the total Au content of the soil.

Specific targeting of the calcareous horizon has been demonstrated to maximize the probability of sampling the most consistently auriferous sample in all landscape regimes in the Kalgoorlie region. In relict and erosional regimes, such sampling may accurately define drilling targets. However, in depositional regimes, the results for Steinway indicate that there is no direct link with mineralization. Here, although the Au anomaly in the calcareous soil directly overlies buried mineralization, the data suggest that it is derived from detrital Fe granules in the soil, rather than the mineralization itself.

It is concluded that, in depositional areas, sampling of calcareous material at best may indicate the potential of the (sub-)catchment. It is suggested, therefore, that for such landscape regimes, wider sampling intervals should be used, with a follow-up requirement that deep samples be collected including basal sands or ferruginous material in saprolite.

Last updated: Sunday, August 05, 2001 12:21:00


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