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Kanowna Belle

Western Australia, WA, Australia

Main commodities: Au
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The Kanowna Bell gold mine is located 18 km NE of Kalgoorlie, within the Eastern Goldfields, 570 km east of Perth in Western Australia. It lies within the Kalgoorlie Terrane of the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane, in the Yilgarn Craton.

Mining at Kanowna Belle commenced in June 1993, based on a resource estimate of 21.4 Mt @ 5.7 g/t Au to a depth of 1000 m. Open pit mining of an oxide resource occurred between 1993 and November 1998 at a final pit depth of 220 m having extracted 8.87 Mt @ 4.4 g/t Au for 38.8 t of contained gold. Underground production commenced in July 1998, and by 2016 the mine had produced 31.9 Mt @ 4.88 g/t Au for 156 t of gold (Bull et al., 2017).

The deposit lies beneath a 40 m thick blanket of saprolite and is within a sequence that comprises a lower mafic-ultramafic sequence equivalent to the Kambalda Sequence, and an upper succession of felsic volcanics, polymictic conglomerate, felsic conglomerate and coarse felsic grits and arenites, with common porphyry intrusives. The upper sequence is equivalent to the Kalgoorlie Sequence and includes the Black Flag Group. See the Yilgarn Craton record for the regional setting and more detail on these sequences.

Mineralisation at Kanowna Belle is mainly hosted within the large, 2655±6 Ma porphyritic granodiorite body, the Kanowna Belle Porphyry, that has intruded a sequence of sedimentary and volcaniclastic rocks.

The ore occurs as a series of stacked, plunging lensoid shoots over a strike length of between 250 and 350 m, a vertical extent of more than 1 km with a dip of 60°. It lies within a major ENE trending reverse shear system represented by a zone of intense structural disruption (the Fitzroy Shear Zone), and is associated with splays from this structure (oblique structures developed in its hangingwall). Shears and faults also influenced the introduction of the host porphyry. The Fitzroy Shear Zone separates the deposit into hangingwall and footwall structural domains, and is the primary control on gold distribution.

The highest grades are associated with brecciation, silicification, pyritisation and crackle/stockwork veining and sheeted vein arrays within the inner two alteration zones which comprise quartz-albite-pyrite and a more extensive sericite-ankerite-dolomite-pyrite-fuchsite. Gold levels are proportional to vein density and alteration intensity, with 1 to 2 m thick zones of intense silicification correspond to >100 g/t Au. Native gold occurs on the margins of these veins as less than 1 mm grains. Much of the gold is free milling. Pyrite is the major sulphide, although arsenopyrite is the main accessory. The sulphur content of the ore is approximately 1%.

The generally tabular enveloping surface to mineralisation dips steeply to the south, has a high plunge to strike ratio and remains open at depth.

At the end of 1999 the resource was 24.27 Mt @ 4.1 g/t Au.

At December 31, 2007 the resource and reserve figures (Barrick 2008) were:
  Proved + probable reserves - 9.05 Mt @ 5.43 g/t Au, for 49 t of contained Au,
  Measured + indicated reserves - 4.40 Mt @ 4.98 g/t Au, for 21 t of contained Au,
  Production during 2007 totalled - 11.26 t of recovered Au.

Remaining Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources in 2016 were (Bull et al., 2017):
  Proved + Probable Reserve - 1.522 Mt @ 4.6 g/t Au;
  Measured + Indicated + Inferred Resource - 10.322 Mt @ 4 g/t Au (inclusive of reserves).

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2001.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.


  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Anonymous  1998 - Kanowna Belle (North): in    Register of Australian Mining 1997/98    p 115
Beckett T S, Fahey G J, Sage P W, Wilson G M  1998 - Kanowna Belle gold deposit: in Berkman D A, Mackenzie D H (Ed.s), 1998 Geology of Australian & Papua New Guinean Mineral Deposits The AusIMM, Melbourne   Mono 22 pp 201-206
Davis, B.K., Blewett, R.S., Squire, R., Champion, D.C. and Henson, P.A.,  2010 - Granite-cored domes and gold mineralisation: Architectural and geodynamic controls around the Archaean Scotia-Kanowna Dome, Kalgoorlie Terrane, Western Australia: in    Precambrian Research   v.183., pp. 316-337.
Gellatly D C, Peachey T R, Ryall A W, Beckett S  1995 - Discovery of Kanowna Belle gold deposit - one the old-timers missed: in   New Generation Gold Mines: Case Histories of Discovery, Conf. Proc., Perth, 27-28 Nov., 1995 AMF Adelaide    pp 14.1-14.10
Ross A A, Barley M E, Brown S J A, McNaughton N J, Ridley J R, Fletcher I R  2004 - Young porphyries, old zircons: new constraints on the timing of deformation and gold mineralisation in the Eastern Goldfields from SHRIMP UPb zircon dating at the Kanowna Belle Gold Mine, Western Australia: in    Precambrian Research   v128 pp 105-142
Wang, R., Cudahy, T., Laukamp, C., Walshe, J.L., Bath, A., Mei, Y., Young, C., Roache, T.J., Jenkins, A., Roberts, M., Barker, A. and Laird, J.,  2017 - White Mica as a Hyperspectral Tool in Exploration for the Sunrise Dam and Kanowna Belle Gold Deposits, Western Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v.112, pp. 1153-1176.


Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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