Structural control of low-sulfidation epithermal gold mineralization in the Rosario-Bunawan district, East Mindanao Ridge, Philippines

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    Abstract

    The Rosario–Bunawan district is situated about 200 km north of Davao City, the capital of the Mindanao Island, Southern Philippines. Gold is produced from the Co-O mine, containing about 2,034,000 t of ore at 10.9 g/t Au, and in numerous small-scale operations by local miners. Epithermal gold mineralization in the Rosario–Bunawan district and the Co-O mine is confined to narrow (0.2–4 m) low-sulfidation quartz–chalcedony–calcite veins in volcanic and volcaniclastic wall rocks. Three major vein orientations are distinguished: (1) the NNW–SSE-trending set with a sinistral strike-slip sense of deformation (Philippine Fault trend); (2) the ENE–WSW-trending dextral strike-slip set (Palawan trend) and associated veins in the Riedel geometry; and (3) the WNW–ESE-trending conjugate set (Co-O trend). Three structural stages are defined: (1) extensional shear or shear veins formed in the Co-O, the Philippine Fault, and Palawan trends during regional NW–SE compression and near vertical vein opening (D1); (2) reactivation of veins in the Philippine Fault, veins associated with the Palawan, and, to a lesser extent, the Co-O trends during E–W compression and near horizontal N–S-oriented vein opening (D2). New D2 extensional shear or shear veins formed in the Philippine Fault, and structures associated with the Palawan and associated Riedel trends; (3) the D3-stage block faulting subsequently displaced all of the auriferous veins. The auriferous Rosario–Bunawan district is situated between two splays of the Philippine Fault, which acted as a lateral ramp system during the oblique convergence of the Philippine Sea plate and the Eurasian plate. The oblique convergence resulted in a change from a compressional (D1) to a transpressional (D2) regime, which was a prerequisite for the two-stage vein opening and hydrothermal mineralization, leading to an economic gold enrichment. D1 compressional tectonics may have caused an elevated geothermal gradient in shallow crustal levels, forming the heat source for the fluid plumbing system, which is at variance to typical epithermal deposits formed in extensional zones. D2 thrusting of a limestone nappe together with syn-tectonic diorite intrusions may have further increased the geothermal gradient, maintaining the fluid plumbing system. The limestone nappe may, at the same time, have represented an aquitard forcing the hydrothermal fluids into the volcanic and volcaniclastic wall rocks, which is regarded as critical for the two-stage gold mineralization in the Rosario–Bunawan district.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)795-815
    JournalMineralium Deposita
    Volume44
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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