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Open File Report 168

Preliminary Biogeochemical Studies at Barns Gold Prospect, Gawler Craton, South Australia

M.J Lintern

CRC LEME Open File Report 168 / CSIRO Exploration and Mining Report 1238F (August 2004)

This report presents outcomes of a collaborative research project between CRC LEME, Department of Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia (PIRSA) and Adelaide Resources NL that commenced in 2003. It was agreed, between the parties, that this report could be released into the public domain immediately.

Executive Summary

This report describes (i) preliminary biogeochemical investigations on the role of vegetation in the mobilization and recycling of Au and other metals in the regolith and (ii) the potential of vegetation as a sample medium to see through sand cover. It forms part of the CRC LEME Project “Gold and trace metal geochemistry in calcrete-bearing and non-calcrete- bearing regolith”. The site chosen for this study is the Barns Gold Prospect located in the northern Eyre Peninsula (South Australia). Here, a seif dune (with natural vegetation) overlays Au mineralization and provides an opportunity to study Au transport in a recent regolith setting. Melaleuca and Eucalyptus leaves, adjoining branches and fruiting bodies were sampled (i) at about 200 m intervals along a 5 km traverse bordering a dune and (ii) at about 25 m intervals across a dune profile. Both traverses crossed mineralization occurring nearby in weathered bedrock at about 35 m depth beneath leached saprolite. Gold concentrations reached a maximum of 1.3 ppb but not near the known extent of mineralization. However, pathfinders (Ag, Bi and Pb), and other elements not known to be associated with the deposit (Co, Sb, W and Ta), were anomalous in plant samples from over mineralization.

The Barns Gold Prospect was originally discovered from a Au in calcrete surface anomaly and this appears to be the best method of surficial sampling in this terrain. Calcrete sampling provides broad, coherent anomalies and whilst more difficult to implement in dunes, where calcrete is located deep in the profile, vegetation may not provide a practical alternative.

M.J. Lintern
Study Leader
August 2004


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