An AMF-PGC International Study Tour
Developed & Managed by Porter GeoConsultancy
OzGold '97
Australian Gold Deposits
26 November to 4 December 1997 - In Two Separate Modules
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Image: Mt Leyshon open pit, Queensland.   


This module of the tour and the selected gold deposits included on the itinerary comprised:

Module 2 - Proterozoic & Phanerozoic,
Sat 29 November to Thurs 4 December 1997

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The Telfer orebodies are hosted by late Middle Proterozoic to early Upper Proterozoic quartzites, sandstones and siltstones.  The structure in the mine area is dominated by a broad gentle domal structure, with shallow bedding dips on its flanks.  The dome is intruded by 680 to 620 Ma granitoids, which on the basis of isotope studies may be related to the emplacement of mineralisation.  Ore deposits occur as generally conformable reefs around 2 m thick within units of claystone, mudstone, carbonaceous limestone and argillaceous siltstone, and comprise pyrite and quartz with minor chalcopyrite, bornite and chalcocite.  Sulphides occur as disseminated blebs and euhedral crystals replacing sediments or as disseminated and locally massive zones in quartz veins which are both conformable and cross-cutting.  The initial mining exploited oxidised and higher grade supergene ore in the top 100 m below the present surface, which were underlain by hypogene mineralisation that rarely exceeded 3 g/t Au.  More recently discovered underground, high grade hypogene ore does exist, with individual reefs around 50 cm thick which have grades of 60 g/t, diluted to 10 to 12 g/t Au, 0.8% Cu over mining widths.  In 1988 reserves + production accounted for 146 t Au at an average grade of 2.35 g/t Au.  In 1996 open pit resources totalled 92 Mt @ 1.1 g/t Au, while underground resources were 3.9 Mt @ 11 g/t (indicated) and 7.5 Mt @ 6 g/t Au (inferred).  In 1997, the total measured, indicated and inferred resource was quoted at 173 Mt @ 1.4 g/t Au.

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The Granites-Tanami-Dead Bullock Soak orebodies are grossly stratabound and hosted within a complexly deformed Lower Proterozoic sequence of fine to medium grained clastic, and minor chemical meta-sediments, which include a large body of semi-conformable dolerite.  The 5 to 35 m thick host unit is composed of a mixed facies of banded iron formation, silicate facies, and silicate-sulphide facies, with lesser carbonate and oxide facies.  There are at least four distinct suites of quartz-dominant veins observed within the gold deposits.  Sheeted quartz veins within a late cleavage are the main ore veins.  The Callie deposit veins are localised within an antiformal hinge zone.  Resources in 1997 totalled 16.8 Mt @ 5.56 g/t Au.  At the Callie ore deposit, cumulative production to December 1996 was 2.3 Mt @ 5.8 g/t Au, with resources of 9.7 Mt @ 7 g/t Au.  During 1994/95 production amounted to 1.35 Mt @ 5.05 g/t Au.

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Tennant Creek

The Tennant Creek district had yielded 125 t Au to 1988 from a series of Au-Cu-Bi orebodies in hematite-magnetite rich lodes.  These deposits are hosted by the Lower Proterozoic Waramanga Group which consists of interbedded greywacke, siltstone, shale, felsic porphyroids and minor, thin, discontinuous argillaceous banded iron formation or hematitic shale.  The individual lodes vary from a few tens of tonnes, to 15 Mt of ore, with irregular, but overall ellipsoidal shapes.  Long axes are normally oriented either near vertical or near horizontal, generally being more pipe-like than tabular.  The principal ore minerals are chalcopyrite, native gold, bismuthinite and various bismuth sulpho-salts.  Gangue is magnetite, quartz, chlorite, talc, hematite, dolomite, sericite, jasper, pyrite and pyrrhotite.  Deposits included  WARREGO - 4.8 Mt @ 2% Cu, 8 g/t Au;  NOBLES KNOB - 2 Mt @ 17.2 g/t Au (incl. 0.5 Mt @ 50 g/t Au);  JUNO - 0.45 Mt @ 0.33% Cu, 56 g/t Au;  PEKO - 3.7 Mt @ 4% Cu, 3.5 g/t Au;  WHITE DEVIL - >0.53 Mt @ 11.6 g/t Au; ORLANDO - 0.68 Mt @ 4% Cu, 8.8 g/t Au; ARGO - 0.3 Mt @ 3.8% Cu, 13.6 g/t Au;  GECKO - 4.9 Mt @ 3.8% Cu, 0.8 g/t Au;  ELDORADO - 0.15 Mt @ 22 g/t Au, TC8 - 0.035 Mt @ 67 g/t Au.

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Charters Towers

To 1987, the Charters Towers Gold Field was the third largest producer in Australia with a total cumulative output of 225 t Au.  The deposits in the immediate Charters Towers field were developed as a series of 0.25 to 1 m thick gold bearing quartz veins with 10% sulphides (pyrite, galena, sphalerite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite and tellurides) within the Devonian (395 Ma) Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex batholith.  The veins are flanked by green muscovite and ankerite selvages, which pass laterally into propylitic (montmorillonite-illite) alteration.  The nearby Ravenswood lodes are hosted by 405 Ma tonalites.

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Mt Leyshon

The Mt Leyshon deposit, which is 24 km south of Charters Towers, is hosted by the Permian Mt Leyshon diatreme, formed at the contact of a Cambro-Ordovician volcano-sedimentary sequence with the Ordovician to Devonian Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex batholith.  This diatreme is roughly circular with a diameter of 1.5 km, and contains a diverse sequence of early breccias and tuffs related to a suite of rhyolite porphyries.  The principal host to ore is a 300 m diameter phreatic breccia pipe, localised in the NW of the diatreme.  This breccia is polymict and matrix supported, with sub-rounded to angular clasts varying from large blocks >1 m in diameter, through predominantly cobble sized fragments to abundant pebble sized clasts.  The clasts are set in a grey-green to black-green matrix that constitutes 30% of the rock.  Gold mineralisation is predominantly within the breccia, but also occurs in adjacent wall rocks.  It is spatially associated with small scale fracture patterns, fracture density and other permeability controls, and is present as replacements of the matrix, cavity fill, disseminated and as veins.  The mineralogy comprises sulphides (pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite) with free gold and electrum, predominantly in the 1 to 600 µm range.  In 1995 the total resource was 48.3 Mt @ 1.27 g/t Au.  In the same year production totalled 6.77 t Au from 5.34 Mt of milled ore averaging 1.44 g/t Au and 0.49 t Au from heap leaching, as well as 7.5 t Ag.

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The Pajingo group of ore deposits are spread over 40 km2, hosted by the predominantly continental sediments of the late Devonian to lower Carboniferous Drummond Basin.  These sediments are also intruded by high level, late Carboniferous, felsic plugs, dykes and intrusive breccias which are locally hosts.  Gold occurs within steeply dipping quartz veins in fractures.  Vein fill is dominantly clear to milky, occasionally red-brown, chalcedonic, micro-crystalline silica, with fine limonite or hematite bands.  Gold is present as electrum and free gold, while free silver is also obvious.  The initial reserve at Pajingo was 1.15 Mt @ 10 g/t Au, 38 g/t Ag.  The recently discovered Vera Nancy deposit at Pajingo contains 1.75 Mt @ 13.6 g/t Au.

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Cadia is a porphyry Au-Cu resource associated with an Ordovician volcano-intrusive complex.  The mineralised intrusive has two phases, an inner magnetic diorite and an outer porphyritic monzonite with coarse orthoclase phenocrysts.  The intrusive is unconformably overlain by Silurian sediments.  There is a strong NW-SE control on both the monzonite, and the veining of the ore deposit.  Mineralisation is developed over an area of 3.5 x 1.5 km, partly in the marginal quartz-monzonite (adamellite) porphyry phase of the composite intrusion, and partly in shoshonitic volcanic wall rock.  An extensive halo of sub-economic mineralisation extends to the NW and SE of the main deposit, while the intrusive is accompanied by a small mineralised magnetite skarn.  The ore occurs predominantly as copper sulphides and gold within, and disseminated around, sheeted quartz veins in a zone 100 to 350 m wide and 1 km long..  This zone dips at 65° to the SW, and is made up of veins that are 1 to 20 mm thick, and present at a density of 2 to 5/m.  Au is associated with Cu sulphides in the veins but to a lesser extent in the disseminated mineralisation.  Alteration comprises pervasive propylitisation, with weak potassic vein selvages, late, structurally controlled phyllic over-printing and widespread hematite.  The resource at Cadia Hill totalled 352 Mt @ 0.63 g/t Au, 0.16% Cu at the end of 1996, and is 300 m thick, with a mine life stripping ratio of 1.25:1.  The nearby Cadia East resource has a further 150 Mt @ 0.44 g/t Au, 0.43 g/t Cu.  Together these account for 285 t Au.  Drilling at the Ridgeway Prospect nearby has encountered blind mineralisation with intersections including 170 m @ 3.68 g/t Au, 1.03% Cu, 246 m @ 3.23 g/t Au, 0.94% Cu, 145 m @ 4.3 g/t Au, 1.2% Cu, and 111 m @ 7.05 g/t Au, 1.75% Cu.  This represents a high grade core with a strike length of at least 130 m.  The top of the ore zone is at a depth of 500 m, and has (1997) been drilled over a vertical interval of 250 m, being open at depth.  This core is surrounded by a lower grade halo.

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The Bendigo Goldfield is the second largest producer in Australia after the Golden Mile at Kalgoorlie, with a historical output of 540 t of primary gold from an 8 x 5 km area.   Of the 6380 t of gold produced in Australia up to 1987, some 2450 t originated from Victoria, 60% of which was from alluvial/deep lead workings.  The Bendigo gold field lies within the Broken Hill-Bendigo tectonic corridor and is restricted to a tightly folded synclinorium of monotonous, lower Ordovician turbidite slates and greywackes, which have been metamorphosed to lower greenschist grade between two major faults.  Some twenty near parallel anticlines have been mineralised within this zone, with 80% of the production being from quartz bodies in anticlinal crests.  These reefs are composed of 'bucky' or laminated quartz with carbonate and sulphides, mainly pyrite constituting between 0.5 and 2.5%.  Gold is present as 100 µm to 2 mm grains, and occasionally as large nuggets.  Many of the quartz reefs however, are barren.

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Bendigo Seminar

An underground tour was conducted in the Central Deborah Tourist Mine at Bendigo where geological relationships, saddle reefs, etc., were demonstrated, followed by a 'crib room' dinner underground, and a seminar comprising presentations on:
  • "An Overview of the Tectonics, Geology and Distribution of Gold in the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic of Central and Eastern Australia" by Dr Neil Phillips, Chief Geologist, Great Central Mines;
  • "The History, Geology and Potential of the Victorian Gold Fields" by Tom Dickson, General Manager, Victorian Geological Survey
  • "The Characteristics and Potential of the Bendigo Gold Field" and the plans of Bendigo Mining NL by Doug Buerger, a geologist and director of that company.
The old Central Deborah, now a tourist mine, allows the appreciation of the hosts and the style of mineralisation worked in the past. To 1951 the Deborah Reefs had yielded 0.36 Mt of quartz for 6 t of Au at a recovered grade of 16 g/t Au.

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Fosterville is located 20 km to the ENE of Bendigo.  It comprises fault controlled deposits developed along and adjacent to a series of major, steeply dipping mineralised structures developed as shoots over intervals of up to 8 km.  The ore is associated with silicification, brecciation and carbonaceous zones within Ordovician sandstones, siltstones and shales, with mineralisation in shears and stockwork veins.  At December 1995 the resources totalled 4.79 Mt @ 1.1 g/t Au as oxide ore and 5.90 Mt @ 2.7 g/t Au primary sulphide ore.  The ore is mined by open cut and treated by heap leach.  In 1994/95 0.75 Mt of ore was stacked for leaching.

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For more information contact:   T M (Mike) Porter, of Porter GeoConsultancy   (

This tour was designed, developed, organised, managed and escorted by
T M (Mike) Porter of Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.

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South Australia
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