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Hellyer, Que River
Tasmania, Tas, Australia
Main commodities: Zn Pb Cu Au Ag


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The Hellyer and Que River deposits, which are 3 km apart, are located in western Tasmania.

The host sequence belongs to the Mt Read Volcanic belt which is around 300 km long and 15 km wide. The immediate hosts to ore overlie the core Cambrian Central Volcanic Complex of that belt which contains the larger Rosebery-Hercules Zn-Pb-Cu-Ag-Au massive sulphide deposits 25 km to the SW and the even larger Mt Lyell Cu deposit a similar distance further to the south of Rosebery. Both Hellyer and Que River are interpreted to be at the same stratigraphic position within the host sequence.

The succession at Hellyer commences with a 170 m thick lower feldspar phyric sequence composed of andesitic lavas, lava-breccia, lapilli and breccia volcani-clastics, and epi-clastics. The massive sulphide orebody occurs at the top of this unit, underlain by extensive alteration and stringer mineralisation. This unit is overlain by the hangingwall volcaniclastics ranging from a few to 40 m in thickness, composed of an interdigitating polymictic, poorly sorted volcanic breccia and fine laminated basaltic ash. These are followed by 250 m of basaltic pillow basalts, the 150 m thick Que River Shale and the 700 m upper rhyolitic sequence.

The massive sulphide body at Hellyer is restricted to a single, but faulted body with virtually no internal waste. It occurs over an 800 m length, 200 m width and average thickness of 43 m. The sub-economic footwall stringer mineralisation is 50 to 100 m wider than the ore, and continues un-interrupted to the north and south of ore. The massive sulphides average 54% pyrite, 20% sphalerite, 8% galena, 2% arsenopyrite, and 1% chalcopyrite, with minor tetrahedrite. The lower and inner regions are rich in Cu and Fe, while the upper and outer sections are higher in Pb, Zn, Ag, Au and As. Bands of crystalline barite occur above the massive sulphides.

The original deposits comprised:
  Hellyer - 16.9 Mt @ 13.8% Zn, 7.2% Pb, 0.4% Cu, 167 g/t Ag, 2.5 g/t Au, and
  Que River - 3.3 Mt @ 13.3% Zn, 7.4% Pb, 0.7% Cu, 195 g/t Ag, 3.3 g/t Au at .

Remaining reserves at Que River in 2007 were:
  0.736 Mt @ 5.7% Zn, 2.9% Pb, 1.1% Cu, 84 g/t Ag, 0.93 g/t Au (Bass Metals, 2007).

At the cessation of underground operations in 2000, potentially treatable tailings of 11 Mt @ 2.7 g/t Au, 3% Zn were estimated, 1.129 Mt of which were treated in 2007-08.

Remaining JORC Compliant Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources as tailings at Hellyer in 2020, after 2 years of production, were (NQ Minerals Website, viewed July 2023, 2007):
  Mineral Resources
    Measured Resources - 1.55 Mt @ 3.44% Zn, 3.45% Pb, 0.2% Cu, 98 g/t Ag, 2.71 g/t Au;
    Indicated Resources - 4.82 Mt @ 2.31% Zn, 2.97% Pb, 0.18% Cu, 95 g/t Ag, 2.57 g/t Au;
    Inferred Resources - 1.21 Mt @ 1.00% Zn, 2.60% Pb, 0.19% Cu, 86 g/t Ag, 2.57 g/t Au;
  TOTAL Resources - 7.57 Mt @ 2.33% Zn, 3.01% Pb, 0.19% Cu, 94 g/t Ag, 2.60 g/t Au.
  Ore Reserves
    Proved Reserves - 1.55 Mt @ 3.44% Zn, 3.45% Pb, 0.21% Cu, 98 g/t Ag, 2.71 g/t Au;
    Probable Reserves - 4.82 Mt @ 2.31% Zn, 2.97% Pb, 0.18% Cu, 95 g/t Ag, 2.57 g/t Au;
  TOTAL Reserves - 6.37 Mt @ 2.58% Zn, 3.09% Pb, 0.19% Cu, 96 g/t Ag, 2.60 g/t Au.

Remaining JORC Compliant Mineral Resources as underground hard rock at Hellyer in 2020 were (NQ Minerals Website, viewed July 2023, 2007):   Fossey and Fossey East
    Measured Resources - 0.175 Mt @ 12.4% Zn, 7% Pb, 0.5% Cu, 137 g/t Ag, 2.8 g/t Au;
    Indicated Resources - 0.20 Mt @ 11.1% Zn, 6% Pb, 0.5% Cu, 94 g/t Ag, 1.8 g/t Au;
    Inferred Resources - 0.05 Mt @ 8.7% Zn, 4.7% Pb, 0.4% Cu, 99 g/t Ag, 2.3 g/t Au;
  TOTAL Resources - 0.425 Mt @ 11.4% Zn, 6.3% Pb, 0.5% Cu, 112 g/t Ag, 2.3 g/t Au.
  Hellyer
    Indicated Resources - 0.64 Mt @ 7.8% Zn, 4.0% Pb, 0.4% Cu, 83 g/t Ag, 1.3 g/t Au;
    Inferred Resources - 0.11 Mt @ 8.1% Zn, 4.9% Pb, 0.2% Cu, 107 g/t Ag, 1.5 g/t Au;
  TOTAL Resources - 0.75 Mt @ 7.0% Zn, 7% Pb, 0.3% Cu, 87 g/t Ag, 1.3 g/t Au.
 TOTAL Hard Rock Resources - 1.175 Mt @ 8.6% Zn, 4.9% Pb, 0.4% Cu, 96 g/t Ag, 1.66 g/t Au.

History - An exploration program of mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysics undertaken by Aberfoyle Resources Limited that began in 1970, led to the identification of coincident significant geochemical and airborne EM anomalies. Ground followup in 1973 located exposed sulphide mineralisation. Drilling in April 1974 intersected significant massive iron-copper-zinc-lead sulphides. Following a 25 000 m drilling campaign, mining commenced at Que River in 1980. UTEM surveys over the neighbouring sections of the exploration and mining tenements detected further anomalies that led to the discovery of the Hellyer deposit, 3 km to the north of Que River, via a 24 m thick intersection of massive sulphides in August 1984. The first Hellyer ore was mined in December 1986, and continued until 2000. The adjacent Fossey deposit, which extends down plunge from the Hellyer deposit, was mined by Bass Metals between 2010 and 2012. Tailings from the Hellyer mill were deposited in a tailings storage facility ~1 km the west of the Hellyer mill. Over the course of these operations 11 Mt of tailings were deposited in the tailings dam (see resources above). NQ Minerals plc completed the acquisition of the Hellyer Gold Mine Project in 2017 with the aim of rehabilitating the site and beneficiation plant and retreating the tailings. In October 2018, retreatment of tailings from the main tailings dam began at a rate of ~1.1 Mtpa, and site rehabilitation commenced. However, NQ Minerals went into administration in August 2021. The project was subsequently purchased from the Administrator by a joint venture between EnviroGold Global Limited and Hellyer Metals Limited who have completed pilot plant test work for the recovery of gold and silver from the tailings.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this decription was dated: 1999.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.


Que River

Hellyer

  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Bishop J R, Lewis R J G  1992 - Geophysical signatures of Australian volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 913-930
Corbett K D  1981 - Stratigraphy and mineralization in the Mt Read volcanics, western Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v76 pp 209-230
Corbett K D  1992 - Stratigraphic-volcanic setting of massive sulphide deposits in the Cambrian Mount Read Volcanics, Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 564-586
Eastoe C J, Solomon M, Walshe J L  1987 - District-scale alteration associated with massive Sulfide deposits in the Mount Read Volcanics, western Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v82 pp 1239-1258
Gemmell J B, Fulton R  2001 - Geology, genesis, and exploration implications of the footwall and hanging-wall alteration associated with the Hellyer volcanic-hosted massive Sulfide deposit, Tasmania, Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v96 pp 1003-1035
Gemmell J B, Large R R  1992 - Stringer system and alteration zones underlying the Hellyer volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Tasmania, Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 620-649
Large R R  1992 - Australian volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits: features, styles, and genetic models: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 471-510
Large R R, McGoldrick P J, Berry R F, Young C H  1988 - A tightly folded, Gold-rich, massive Sulfide deposit: Que River mine, Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v83 pp 681-693
Large R R, McPhie J, Gemmell J B, Herrmann W, Davidson G J  2001 - The spectrum of ore deposit types, volcanic environments, alteration halos, and related exploration vectors in submarine volcanic successions: some examples in Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v96 pp 913-938
McArthur G J, Dronseika E V  1990 - Que River and Hellyer zinc-lead-silver deposit: in Hughes FE (Ed.), 1990 Geology of the Mineral Deposits of Australia & Papua New Guinea The AusIMM, Melbourne   Mono 14, v2 pp 1229-1239
McGoldrick P J, Large R R  1992 - Geologic and geochemical controls on gold-rich stringer mineralization in the Que River deposit, Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 667-685
Monecke T, Gemmell J B and Monecke J  2001 - Fractal distributions of veins in drill core from the Hellyer VHMS deposit, Australia: constraints on the origin and evolution of the mineralising system: in    Mineralium Deposita   v36 pp 406-415
Offler R, Whitford D J  1992 - Wall-rock alteration and metamorphism of a volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit at Que River, Tasmania: petrology and mineralogy: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 686-705
Schardt C, Cooke D R, Gemmell J B, Large R R  2001 - Geochemical modeling of the zoned footwall alteration pipe, Hellyer volcanic-hosted massive Sulfide deposit, western Tasmania, Australia: in    Econ. Geol.   v96 pp 1037-1054
Solomon M  1981 - An introduction to the geology and metallic ore deposits of Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v76 pp 194-208
Solomon M, Gemmell J B, Khin Zaw  2004 - Nature and origin of the fluids responsible for forming the Hellyer Zn–Pb–Cu, volcanic-hosted massive sulphide deposit, Tasmania, using fluid inclusions, and stable and radiogenic isotopes: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v25 pp 89-124
Solomon M, Eastoe C J, Walshe J L, Green G R  1988 - Mineral deposits and Sulfur isotope abundances in the Mount Read volcanics between Que River and Mount Darwin, Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v83 pp 1307-1328
Solomon M, Gaspar O C  2001 - Textures of the Hellyer volcanic-hosted massive Sulfide deposit, Tasmania - the Aging of a Sulfide sediment on the sea floor: in    Econ. Geol.   v96 pp 1513-1534
Solomon M, Khin Zaw  1997 - Formation on the sea floor of the Hellyer volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit: in    Econ. Geol.   v92 pp 686-695
Solomon M, Zaw K  1997 - Formation on the sea floor of the Hellyer Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide deposit: in    Econ. Geol.   v92 pp 686-695
Waters J C, Wallace D B  1992 - Volcanology and sedimentology of the host succession to the Hellyer and Que River volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits, northwestern Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 650-666
Waters J C, Wallace D B  1992 - Volcanology and sedimentology of the host sequence to the Hellyer and Que River volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits, Northwestern Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v87 pp 650-666
Whitford D J, McPherson W P A, Wallace D B  1989 - Geochemistry of the host rocks of the volcanogenic massive Sulfide deposit at Que River, Tasmania: in    Econ. Geol.   v84 pp 1-21
Zaw K, Gemmell J B, Large R R, Mernagh T P and Ryan C G  1996 - Evolution and source of ore fluids in the stringer system, Hellyer VHMS deposit, Tasmania, Australia: evidence from fluid inclusion microthermometry and geochemistry: in    Ore Geology Reviews   v10 pp 251-278


Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo, its employees and servants:   i). do not warrant, or make any representation regarding the use, or results of the use of the information contained herein as to its correctness, accuracy, currency, or otherwise; and   ii). expressly disclaim all liability or responsibility to any person using the information or conclusions contained herein.

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