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Gold-Copper-Bismuth Deposits of the Tennant Creek District, Australia: A Reappraisal of Diverse High-Grade Systems
 
by
Roger G. Skirrow, Minerals Division, Australian Geological Survey Organisation.

in - Porter, T.M. (Ed), 2000 - Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold and Related Deposits: A Global Perspective, PGC Publishing, Adelaide, v. 1, pp 149-160.

ABSTRACT

   Gold-copper-bismuth deposits of the Tennant Creek district, Northern Territory, Australia, are distinctive as some of the highest grade deposits within the Fe-oxide Cu-Au global family. They are unified by an association with epigenetic magnetite ± hematite - rich 'ironstones' that are hosted by a sequence ~1860 Ma, low metamorphic grade, Fe-oxide rich greywacke, siltstone and shale. While many of the high grade gold orebodies are dominated by magnetite - chlorite ± minor hematite, muscovite and pyrite, there are significant variations representing a spectrum of styles from reduced (pyrrhotite-bearing) Cu-Au-Bi deposits to oxidised hematitic Au-Bi(Cu) deposits.
   Shear-hosted Au-Cu mineralisation outside ironstones further adds to the diversity of styles present in the district. Ironstones predated syn- to late-deformational ~1825-1830 Ma introduction of Au, Cu and Bi in ~300-350°C, acidic, low-moderate salinity or hypersaline fluids, which were in places carbonic and nitrogenous. The very wide range of oxidation-reduction conditions during ore deposition across the district is interpreted as the product of both reduced (magnetite± pyrrhotite stable, H
2S > SO42-) and oxidised (hematite stable, S > SO42- ± H2S) fluids reacting with ironstones and/or mixing. Oxygen and hydrogen isotope data point to an hybrid ore fluid source with input of evolved surficial or formation waters, whereas Sm-Nd reconnaissance data and sulfur isotope compositions are consistent with contributions from igneous sources. 37

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