Geology and Metallogenesis of the Sawayaerdun Gold Deposit in the Southwestern Tianshan Mountains, Xinjiang, China

F. Yang, J. Mao, Y. Wang, Frank Bierlein, H. Ye, M. Li, C. Zhao, J. Ye

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    The Sawayaerdun gold deposit, located in Wuqia County, Southwest Tianshan, China, occurs in Upper Silurian and Lower Devonian low-grade metamorphic carbonaceous turbidites. The orebodies are controlled by a series of NE-NNE-trending, brittle-ductile shear zones. Twenty-four gold mineralized zones have been recognized in the Sawayaerdun ore deposit. Among these, the up to 4-km-long and 200-m wide No. IV mineralized zone is economically the most important. The average gold grade is 1-6 g/t. Gold reserves of the Sawayaerdun deposit have been identified at approximately 37 tonnes and an inferred resource of 123 tonnes. Hydrothermal alteration is characterized by silicification, pyritization, arsenopyritization, sericitization, carbonatization and chloritization. On the basis of field evidence and petrographic analysis, five stages of vein emplacement and hydrothermal mineralization can be distinguished: stage 1, early quartz stage, characterized by the occurrence of quartz veins; stage 2, arsenopyrite-pyrite-quartz stage, characterized by the formation of auriferous quartz veinlets and stockworks; stage 3, polymetallic sulfide quartz stage, characterized by the presence of auriferous polymetallic sulfide quartz veinlets and stockworks; stage 4, antimony-quartz stage, characterized by the formation of stibnite-jamesonite quartz veins; and stage 5, quartz-carbonate vein stage. Stages 2 and 3 represent the main gold mineralization, with stage 4 representing a major antimony mineralization episode in the Sawayaerdun deposit. Two types of fluid inclusion, namely H2O-NaCl and H2O-CO2-NaCl types, have been recognized in quartz and calcite. Aqueous inclusions show a wide range of homogenization temperatures from 125 to 340 degrees C, and can be correlated with the mineralization stage during which the inclusions formed. Similarly, salinities and densities of these fluids range for each stage of mineralization from 2.57 to 22 equivalent wt% NaCl and 0.76 to 1.05 g/cm(3), respectively The ore-forming fluids thus are representative of a medium- to low-temperature, low- to medium-salinity H2O-NaCl-CO2-CH4-N-2 system. The delta S-34(CDT) values of sulfides associated with mineralization fall into a narrow range of -3.0 to +2.6 parts per thousand. with a mean of +0.1 parts per thousand. The delta C-13(PDB) values of dolomite and siderite from the Sawayaerdun. gold deposit range from -5.4 to -0.6 parts per thousand., possibly reflecting derivation of the carbonate carbon from a mixed magmatic/sedimentary source. Changes in physico-chemical conditions and composition of the hydrothermal fluids, water-rock exchange and immiscibility of hydrothermal fluids are inferred to have played important roles in the ore-forming process of the Sawayaerdun gold-antimony deposit.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-75
    JournalResource Geology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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