Geological setting and SHRIMP U-Pb geochronological evidence for ca. 2680-2660 Ma lode-gold mineralization at Jundee-Nimary in the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia

C.J. Yeats, E.A. Kohler, Neal Mcnaughton, L.J. Tkatchyk

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    The 7 million oz. Jundee-Nimary lode-gold deposit occurs in the northern portion of the Yandal greenstone belt in the northeastern part of the Archean Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia. Gold mineralization at Jundee-Nimary is similar in structural style, mineralogy, geochemistry and relative timing with respect to deformation and metamorphism, to other Western Australian Archean greenstone-hosted gold deposits, but is unusual in the fact that mineralized structures are crosscut by structurally late intermediate to felsic dykes. Within the Deakin South open cut, gold mineralization is hosted in brittle-ductile shear zones primarily developed within the dacitic Mitchell Porphyry. The Moore Porphyry, a broad dyke of porphyritic granodiorite, intrudes the Mitchell Porphyry, crosscutting and post-dating gold mineralization. Analytically indistinguishable SHRIMP U-Pb zircon ages of 2678 +/- 5 Ma for the Mitchell Porphyry and 2669 +/- 7 Ma for the Moore Porphyry require that gold mineralization at Jundee-Nimary occurred at ca. 2680-2660 Ma, approximately 40 million years earlier than the majority of published robust ages for gold mineralization in the Yilgarn Craton, which mostly overlap at ca. 2640-2630 Ma. The close spatial and temporal relationship between gold mineralization and felsic to intermediate magmatism at Jundee-Nimary also raises the possibility of a genetic link between hydrothermal and igneous activity. However, additional work is required to establish a firm connection. Current research on lode-gold mineralization in Archean, Paleozoic and Phanerozoic terranes suggests a model which postulates that these deposits formed during transpressional to compressional deformation in accretionary and collisional orogens and that their formation is intimately related to orogenic processes. Consequently, mineralization and regional metamorphism are expected to be diachronous, as terranes are. accreted and the front of orogenesis migrates. Consideration of the new data presented in this paper in conjunction with previously published dates supports the hypothesis that gold mineralization, along with regional metamorphism, was generally diachronous from northeast to southwest across the Yilgarn Craton, over a period of approximately 40 million years from ca. 2680-2660 Ma to ca. 2640-2630 Ma. This is directly analogous to the accepted model for the timing of orogenic lode-gold mineralization in other provinces and therefore provides further support for a unified model for this style of deposit through geological time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-136
    JournalMineralium Deposita
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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