Fluid pressure–dominated orogenic gold mineralization under low differential stress: case of the Yaouré gold camp, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa

Nicolas Mériaud, Quentin Masurel, Nicolas Thébaud, Ghislain Tourigny

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Abstract

The ~ 1.5 Moz Yaouré gold deposit, which is located within the Birimian greenstone belts of central Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa), is associated with two stages of economic gold mineralization. Both ore-forming stages occurred during protracted E-W-directed shortening associated with the Eburnean orogeny. The first mineralization stage is hosted by fault-fill veins along conjugate ENE-striking (dextral) and WNW-striking (sinistral) strike-slip fault arrays. This ore stage is associated with a polymetallic assemblage including Mo, Bi, Pb, W, Te, Ag, and Au and cryptic alteration in wall rocks. The second and main gold mineralization stage is associated with a low-displacement fault-fracture-vein mesh formed during a reverse faulting episode. This second gold phase is associated with a polymetallic assemblage including W and Au ± Pb and is characterized by pronounced albite-ankerite-pyrite hydrothermal alteration in wall rocks. Shear veins associated with this second mineralization episode formed during episodic fluid pressure variations under low differential stress within pre-existing low-angle reverse fault planes. Permeability destruction by albite-ankerite-pyrite hydrothermal sealing of these low-angle reverse faults resulted in fluid pressure build-up and ultimately in the development of extension veins under low differential stress in the late stages of the structural evolution of the deposit. This study presents the structural evolution of a polyphase orogenic gold deposit and highlights that the interplay between fault zone activity, hydrothermal alteration, and fluid pressure fluctuations at low differential and deviatoric stresses were key in controlling fluid flow and the formation of ore within optimally-oriented faults.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMineralium Deposita
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2019

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