The Golden Mile deposit (1767 t Au) in the Archean Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, is controlled by D2 strike-slip and D3 reverse faults displacing folded tholeiitic greenstones. Granodiorite and monzodiorite dykes emplaced into the faults predate and are synchronous with propylitic and sericite–ankerite alteration overprinted by the ore. Arsenopyrite and chlorite thermometry and fluid-inclusion data indicate ore formation at 420 ± 30 °C and 300 MPa and cooling to the ambient temperature at 10 km depth (250–300 °C). Fimiston refractory ore (7 g/t Au) in propylitic Golden Mile Dolerite is zoned from inner albite–ankerite to outer ankerite–phengite–quartz replacement. Pyrite–magnetite is overprinted by pyrite–hematite ± anhydrite. Arsenical pyrite encloses chalcopyrite, tennantite, gold and tellurides. Gold thio-sulfide complexes, buffered by magmatic SO2 and H2S in the fluid, were destabilised during the ankerite–pyrite replacement of propylitic chlorite, a reaction releasing hydrogen ions for the hydrolitic alteration of adjacent albite. Gold deposition was assisted by declining gold, silver, tellurium and sulfur solubility as the fluid cooled. Dissolved sulfate is recorded in pyrite by negative δ34S (− 10 to − 5‰) at magmatic Δ33S (0–0.2‰). Oroya ore bodies are subdivided into oxidised pyrite lodes (5 g/t Au) in propylitic GMD and reduced lodes (30–120 g/t Au) characterised by Stage 1 silica–pyrite and siderite–chlorite replacement in ankerite-rich wall rocks. Rapid cooling, an acidic fluid and the retrograde solubility of ankerite facilitated replacement and the deposition of minor arsenopyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite and gold. Locally, the H2S-rich fluid (log fS2 = − 5.8 ± 0.5 bar at 420 °C) was reduced by organic methane. Oroya Stage 2 ore fills crosscutting veins and cements breccia. Quartz, chalcedony, dolomite–ankerite, calcite, V-muscovite, V-chlorite and V-tourmaline form the gangue of pyrite–telluride ± magnetite ore. Altaite–tellurium myrmekites were deposited at ≥ 400 °C as melt droplets together with tellurantimony, altaite, calaverite, montbrayite and petzite. As fluid temperature and tellurium fugacity declined, free gold, krennerite, coloradoite and melonite also crystallised joined by sylvanite and hessite below 350 °C. Finally, trace covellite and digenite precipitated at high fluid sulfidation states.