Fluid-rock sulfidation reactions control Au-Ag-Te-Bi precipitation in the Val-d’Or orogenic gold vein field (Abitibi subprovince, Canada)

Michael Herzog, Crystal LaFlamme, Georges Beaudoin, Guillaume Barré, Laure Martin, Dany Savard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Val-d’Or vein field (VVF), located in the southern Abitibi subprovince (Québec, Canada), is host to ~ 47 Moz gold and is therefore an example of a greenstone-hosted orogenic gold district. Gold is contained in quartz-tourmaline-carbonate veins that cut As-poor intermediate to mafic volcanic and intrusive rocks, including dioritic, granodioritic and gabbroic sills, dikes, stocks, and plutons. Five investigated orebodies (Goldex, Triangle, Plug #4, Pascalis Gold Trend, Beaufor) host gold in vein- and wallrock-hosted pyrite-rich sulfide aggregates (> 95 vol%) that show a porous core domain (Py1), with abundant inclusions of carbonate, silicate, and Fe-oxides up to several tens of µm in size. A homogeneous pyrite rim domain (Py2) surrounds Py1 and contains most of the gold as native gold and polymetallic (Au-Ag-Te-Bi) inclusions, primarily calaverite and petzite. The two pyrites show different Au and As contents (Py1 = Au ≤ 30 ppm; As ≤ 67 ppm; Py2 = Au ≤ 1250 ppm; As ≤ 550 ppm). Pyrite shows a ubiquitous shift in δ34S values of up to + 3.0‰ from Py1 (δ34S = − 0.4‰ to 5.8‰, n = 32) to Py2 (δ34S = 0.0‰ to 6.3‰, n = 59) and records a small, slightly negative Δ33S signature between – 0.20‰ and 0.01‰. The δ34S shift suggests that removal of reduced sulfur species from auriferous hydrothermal fluids causes the formation of inclusion-hosted gold in Py2 by a decrease in the fluid sulfur fugacity (fS2) through wallrock sulfidation of Fe-oxides. The shift also correlates with locally enriched Co and Ni concentrations in Py1 (< 1 wt%), compared to lower, oscillatory zoned concentrations (< 0.1 wt%) in Py2, respectively, indicating an overall decrease in fluid oxygen fugacity (fO2). Contemporaneously, a decrease in fluid tellurium fugacity (fTe2) drives polymetallic inclusion-hosted gold formation in Py2, initially as calaverite followed by increasingly Ag-bearing petzite and hessite. The multiple sulfur isotopes and trace element compositions recorded in pyrite in the VVF indicate that a homogeneous fluid reservoir introduced gold-sulfide complexes. Even if considered a localized process at the ore-shoot scale, fluid-wallrock sulfidation reactions can lead to a coupled decrease in fS2, fO2, and fTe2 of auriferous hydrothermal fluids in a greenstone-hosted As-poor gold district.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1064
Number of pages26
JournalMineralium Deposita
Volume59
Issue number5
Early online date10 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

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