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Vasilkovskoye, Vasilkovskaya
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The Vasilkovskoye intrusion-hosted gold deposit is located 17 km north of the city of Kokshetau (Kokchetav) in Akmola Oblast, northern Kazakhstan (#Location: 54° 26' 32"N, 69° 14' 53"E).

The deposit was discovered in 1963, and a pilot open pit mining project undertaken from 1980 to 1986. Mining from 1995 until the end of 2007 concentrated on extracting the oxide ores which were treated by heap leach. Some 14 Mt of oxide ore were produced before reserves were depleted. A significant primary sulphide resource was outlined below the oxide layer and the decision to re-develop the mine and build a sulphide processing facility was made during 2006. Waste stripping, ore stockpiling and construction of the in-pit crushing facilities commenced during 2007, with production officially commencing with the completion of the processing facilities in November 2009.

The Vasilkovskoye deposit is within the western part of the NW-trending Shatskaya metallogenic zone of the Altai-Sayan orogenic belt. It lies within a Proterozoic metamorphic basal complex, intruded by Ordovician granitoids, and overlain by later Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks. The area has been subjected to a Mesozoic weathering regime, and is overlain by Cenozoic sand and clay sediments.

In the Vasilkovskoye deposit area, the Altybaysky intrusion occurs as a diorite/gabbrodiorite and a granite/granodiorite suite, part of the larger Zerendinsky Complex. Sharp planar contacts between the two suites are common, although not always the case. The diorite/gabbrodiorite suite, which is restricted to the northern section of the deposit, and is generally only weakly mineralised, represents the transition between the metamorphic country rocks and the Altybaysky intrusion granite rocks. The granite/granodiorite suite occupies the majority of the deposit area and hosts the bulk of the mineralisation. In the southern part of the deposit, at depths of 400 to 500 m, quartz-diorites, diorites and gabbro-diorites have been intersected which may be related to the Stepnyaksky Complex which is related to other gold deposits in northern Kazakhstan.

The Altybaysky intrusion is cut by numerous faults, most trending either NW or NE, parallel to two major first order structures, the NE-striking Vasilkovskoye fault, and the NW-trending Dongulagashsky fault. The deposit is located in the northern quadrant formed by the intersection of these two structures, within the thermal aureole caused by the granitic intrusion. These and other structural trends can be summarised as follows (from Newell et al., 2011):
i). North Western (300 to 320°) which are related to the regional Dongulagashsky fault, have variable dips, occurring as widespread, isolated fractures and zones of jointing. They are 2 to 10 cm wide and rectilinear, containing ferruginous fault gouge and fine schistosity along vein margins. They were pre-ore but reactivated during the ore forming event;
ii). North Western (330 to 350°), dipping steeply to the NE, and less commonly to the SW;
iii). North (350 to 10°), vertically dipping, and rarely steeply to the NE and SW. These are numerous and occur as thick (5 to 7 m) zones of schistosity, lenses of brecciated rock and narrow zones of fault gouge. They trends are curvilinear and were reactivated into shear zones;
iv). North-North Eastern (15 to 30°) dipping steeply to vertically (65 to 90°), predominantly to the SE. This is the dominant structural direction, and may represent part of a large regional fault zone. Steeply dipping (75 to 90°), narrow fractures (0.5 up to 25 to 30 cm) control the distribution of ore veins. The longest of these veins is 143 m, although most pinch out between 1 to 2 m and tens of metres. Quartz-arsenopyrite and arsenopyrite veinlets (0.5 to 3 cm thick) are developed at the contacts of quartz veins. The frequency of the veins/veinlets varies from one per 5 to 7m to hundreds per metre, determined by the density of intersecting fractures. Clusters of veinlets merge into veins along NW fractures at the intersection of the NE veins and veinlets with NW structural dislocations;
v). North Eastern (40 to 60°), dipping 30 to 55°, predominantly believed to be part of a large, thick of regional fault zone. Isolated 5 to 10m thick zones of schistosity zones are evident;
vi). East (80 to 100°), which are uncommon, and have various dips, predominantly ~45°;
vii). North Western (290 to 310°), gently dipping at 10 to 15° to the NE. These veins may be up to 30 cm wide and are related to the ore phase.

A structural analysis based on field observations by Davis, Cowan and Masters in 2014 and detailed by Cowan, J., in a Linkedin Post of 2 Sept., 2022, concluded that the earliest fabric developed in the host rocks was a primary magmatic flow foliation, manifested by a well-defined K feldspar megacryst alignment in the host granodiorite. This is commonly overprinted by a subparallel tectonic foliation which together produced a composite, pre-mineral fabric. Subvertical, mm to tens of cm thick mineralised quartz-sulphide veins cross-cut the magmatic and ductile tectonic fabrics of the granodiorite. In addition, it was observed that sulphide deposition took place late, after the bulk of the quartz was deposited in the veins. The initial veins (v1) were observed to have locally been subjected to open folding, with a second generation of veining (v2) developed parallel to the axial plane. These v2 veins are planar compared to the earlier folded veins, but are oblique to those v1 trends, and highly variable in orientation. The axes of these folds were observed to be subvertical, paralleling the main high grade spine of the deposit. The anti-clockwise overprinting of these two successive (or progressively developed) trends is consistent with a NW-SE directed dextral shear system with a steep rotation axis. The sulphide mineralisation is accompanied by quartz-sericite-chlorite-albite alteration and is regarded in this interpretation as the result of extensional/dilational veining after the crystallisation of the host granodiorite (Cowan, 2022).

Newell et al. (2011) described the gold mineralisation as spatially associated with a stockwork of hydrothermal quartz and quartz-arsenopyrite veins and veinlets that form a zone that flattens towards the surface, and steepens with depth, dipping SW, persisting to 1000 m below the surface, before pinching out.

The dominant sulphide is arsenopyrite, which occurs as sulphide veinlets, with quartz veins and as disseminations, with native gold, minor pyrite and trace amounts of chalcopyrite, bismuth sulphides and bismuth tellurides. Lesser sphalerite, galena, molybdenite, stibnite and tennantite are also recorded. Uranium is spatially associated with the gold, but is younger than the main gold event. Minor gold also occurs within carbonate and silicates. Uranium mineralisation, locally as high as 100 ppm is present within the deposit, with rare, narrow higher grade intervals of up to >1% occur outside of the pit envelope.

All of the sulphides are found in both the diorite/gabbrodiorite and granite/granodiorite suites, although pyrite and chalcopyrite are more common in the mafic rocks. Extensive weathering in the upper levels of the deposit converted the sulphides to oxide minerals.

Higher grade gold values are found in microcrystalline grey quartz veins and veinlets, which are commonly relatively thin (<3 cm), and oriented at a high angle, either en echelon or slightly oblique to, the direction of the main faults. The concentration of veinlets in the ore zone varies from 1 to 5, to as much as >10 per metre. Gold grains ranges from 1 to 63 µm, averaging 2.5 µm in the gabbro, and 4 µm in granodiorite, mostly occurring as < 10µm inclusions within arsenopyrite. Native gold is associated with pyrite-arsenopyrite-quartz and bismuthinite-pyrite-arsenopyrite-quartz assemblages (Seltmann et al., 2017).

Mineralisation has been divided into a series of stages, all of which include some sulphides, particularly arsenopyrite:
Pre Ore Phase - corresponds to the earliest sulphide introduction, comprising chalcopyrite-pyrrhotite-pyrite, arsenopyrite-pyrite and Au assemblages, which are best developed within the gabbro suite, especially adjacent to the contact with the granites, and in strongly fractured areas. The chalcopyrite-pyrrhotite-pyrite assemblage is generally ore when closely associated with rocks rich in mafic minerals.
Early Ore Phase - dominated by the introduction of quartz, carbonates, sericite and pyrite (i.e., carbonate and phyllic alteration).
Main Ore Phase - essentially a quartz, carbonate and chalcophile mineral assemblage, accompanied by the introduction of complex copper, bismuth, antimony, arsenic and tellurium minerals.
Post Ore Phase - representing a waning of the system with the introduction of silica, carbonate and minor complex sulphides, as well as the deposition of uranium.

Alteration occurs as steeply dipping lenticular zones, including: chlorite; chlorite-albite; albite; carbonate; quartz-sericite; quartz-K feldspar; K feldspar; and argillic alteration. The most intensive alteration is confined to areas of increased fracturing, and drops of in intensity with distance from the ore. Syn-mineral alteration accompanying the sulphide-quartz auriferous stockwork and veins is principally the quartz-sericite (phyllic) assemblage, essentially comprising grey quartz, infilling of vesicles and minor recrystallisation of rock minerals to sericite and carbonate. The alteration accompanying the post mineralisation phase is largely argillic alteration comprising 2 to 5 cm veins of predominantly of carbonate.

JORC compliant Mineral Resources at 1 Jan, 2011 (Wardell Armstrong 2011, for Kazzinc Glencore) were:
  0.4 g/t Au cut-off
      Measured + Indicated Mineral Resource - 186.80 Mt @ 1.72 g/t Au for 320 t of gold;
      Inferred Mineral Resource - 99.08 Mt @ 1.77 g/t Au for 175 t of gold;
  0.9 g/t Au cut-off
      Measured + Indicated Mineral Resource - 128.49 Mt @ 2.22 g/t Au for 286 t of gold;
      Inferred Mineral Resource - 68.63 Mt @ 2.27 g/t Au for 156 t of gold;
  1.5 g/t Au cut-off
      Measured + Indicated Mineral Resource - 78.49 Mt @ 2.90 g/t Au for 227 t of gold;
      Inferred Mineral Resource - 39.74 Mt @ 3.07 g/t Au for 122 t of gold;

JORC compliant Ore Reserve at 1 Jan, 2011 (Wardell Armstrong 2011, for Kazzinc Glencore), using a 0.48 g/t Au cut-off were:
      Proved Ore Reserve - 33.3 Mt @ 1.95 g/t Au for 65 t of gold;
      Probable Ore Reserve - 90.7 Mt @ 1.94 g/t Au for 176 t of gold;
      TOTAL Ore Reserve - 123.97 Mt @ 1.94 g/t Au for 240 t of gold.

Remaining Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources at 31 December, 2021 were (Glencore 2021 Resources and Reserves Report):
  Open Pit
    Measured + Indicated Mineral Resources - 89 Mt @ 1.9 g/t Au;
    Inferred Mineral Resources - 0.6 Mt @ 1.0 g/t Au;
    Proved + Probable Ore Reserves - 71 Mt @ 1.9 g/t Au;
    Measured + Indicated Mineral Resources - 27.9 Mt @ 2.3 g/t Au;
    Inferred Mineral Resources - 1.4 Mt @ 2.0 g/t Au;
    Proved + Probable Ore Reserves - None;
    Measured + Indicated Mineral Resources - 117 Mt @ 2.0 g/t Au;
    Inferred Mineral Resources - 1.4 Mt @ 2.0 g/t Au;
    Proved + Probable Ore Reserves - 71 Mt @ 1.9 g/t Au.

The information in this summary is largely sourced from: Newell et al., 2011 - Competent Person's Report for the Assets held by Kazzinc Limited in Kazakhstan and Russia; prepared by Wardell Armstrong International, Truro, UK., except as noted otherwise

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this decription was dated: 2014.     Record last updated: 3/9/2022
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
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  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Dolgopolova, A., Seltmann, R., Miroshnikova, A. and Mizernaya, M.,  2015 - Mineralogical and Geochemical Characteristics of the Vasilkovskoye Gold Deposit (North Kazakhstan): in Andre‐Mayer, A.-S., Cathelineau, M., Muchez, P., Pirard, E. and Sindern, S., 2015 - Mineral Resources in a Sustainable World - Geodynamics, Orogenic cycles and mineral systems, 13th SGA Biennial Meeting, Nancy, France, 24-27 August, 2015, Proceedings,   v.1, pp. 77-80.
Seltmann, R., Miroshnikova, A., Dolgopolova, A., Mizernaya, M. and Dyachkov, B.,  2017 - The Vasilkovskoye intrusion-related gold deposit (Kazakhstan): in    Society of Economic Geologists, SEG 2017 Conference,   Proceedings, 2p.

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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