From intrusion-related to orogenic mineralization: The Wasamac deposit, Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Canada

Nicolas Mériaud, Michel Jébrak

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The Wasamac deposit is an example of Archean greenstone-hosted gold deposit located in the Abitibi Belt, 15 km southwest of Rouyn-Noranda. The deposit is hosted by a second-order ductile shear zone of the Cadillac–Larder Lake Fault Zone (CLLFZ), known as the Francoeur-Wasa Shear Zone (FWSZ). It regionally sits at the boundary between the orogenic gold district of Noranda and the Kirkland Lake gold district dominated by intrusion-related gold systems. This specific location in-between two different gold mineralization environments sets the Wasamac deposit apart as a prime candidate for investigating hydrothermal processes along the CLLFZ. Within the Wasamac deposit, gold distribution is constrained to the altered mylonitized portion of the FWSZ; lode systems are absent. Hydrothermal alteration and associated disseminated mineralization occurs as a replacement of the Blake River Group metavolcanic units. The hydrothermal signature displays two distinct alkaline alteration assemblages: potassic and albitic, each associated with specific gold characteristics. (1) Potassic alteration is characterized by the crystallization of microcline, carbonates and quartz. Within this assemblage gold is associated with porous pyrite enriched in Te-Ag-Au-Mo-Pb-Bi-W, deposited under oxidizing conditions. Such characteristics are widely described in the Kirkland Lake area, and are found in examples of syenite-related mineralization, such as the Beattie and Malartic gold deposits. (2) The albitic alteration assemblage, composed of albite, sericite and carbonates, reflects more reduced hydrothermal conditions with mineralization characterized by free native gold. This hydrothermal event is coeval with the brecciation of early gold-rich pyrite reflecting a structural overprint that controlled late-stage gold characteristics. These alteration and structural features are common in orogenic gold deposits both worldwide and regionally, particularly at the neighbouring Kerr-Addison and Francoeur deposits, and in lode-gold systems such as in the Sigma-Lamaque deposit. The gold mineralization at Wasamac has similar characteristics to both intrusion-related gold systems and structurally controlled orogenic gold deposits. Hydrothermal and structural crosscutting relationships at Wasamac indicate that a structurally controlled hydrothermal event overprinted earlier potassic magmatic-hydrothermal alteration. This observation supports a multistage process of gold concentration during which new gold characteristics, metal anomalies, fluid conditions and alteration assemblages replaced earlier stages of gold enrichment, in places completely obliterating previous signatures. We propose that the Wasamac deposit was originally related to an alkaline intrusion buried at depth beneath the Francoeur-Wasa Shear Zone.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)289-308
    Number of pages20
    JournalOre Geology Reviews
    Volume84
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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