3D spatial analysis for sedimentary-hosted base metal mineral systems in the Paterson Orogen, Western Australia

Ethan Sylvester

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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The northwest Paterson Orogen is highly prospective for sedimentary-hosted base metal deposits in the Neoproterozoic Yeneena Basin. The Yeneena Basin hosts the world-class Nifty (Cu) deposit, discovered in 1981, and yet no new equivalent deposits have been discovered elsewhere in the region. This is mainly due to the region being largely under the regolith cover with poor or no outcrop. Consequently, exploration for sedimentary-hosted base metal deposits is limited. This study extracts company drillhole data from the Western Australian Mineral WAMEX database. Drillhole data was compiled, manipulated, and synthesised using a combination of SQL scripts and a FuzzyWuzzy partial-ratio package, to import into 3D software Paradigm SKUA-GOCAD ®. This study conducts a 3D spatial analysis of drillhole data from multiple exploration drillholes drilled in different regions of the Yeneena Basin to better identify and characterise the geological features of sedimentary-hosted base metal deposits. Visual inspection of drillcore further enhanced this analysis. Using a mineral systems framework, the results of this study have implications for sedimentary-hosted base metal mineral systems based on architecture, fluid source, fluid pathways, and depositional traps. 3D spatial analysis and visual inspection of drillcores show both copper and zinc-lead mineralisation zones are closely related to carbonaceous shales of the Broadhurst Formation that are structurally controlled by D4 structures related to the Miles Orogeny. These data provide some implications for sedimentary-hosted base metal deposits for the Throssell Range. The Coolbro Sandstone is inferred to have acted as an aquifer for basinal brines that were facilitated by fluid movement of thrust fault systems to carbonaceous shales of the Broadhurst Formation. Important structures are D4 events related to the Miles Orogeny, which produced thrust faults and folds that acted as fluid pathways and structural traps. In addition to structures, carbonate intervals within carbonaceous shales are effective chemical traps for ore deposition.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Award date10 Feb 2020
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020


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