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TitleAlluvial platinum-group minerals and gold in Alberta: results from the "Orientation Studies Project" and their significance to exploration
DownloadDownload (whole publication)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorBallantyne, S B; Harris, D C
SourceExploring for minerals in Alberta: Geological Survey of Canada geoscience contributions, Canada-Alberta Agreement on Mineral Development (1992-1995); by Macqueen, R W (ed.); Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 500, 1997 p. 279-329, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Exploring for minerals in Alberta: Geological Survey of Canada geoscience contributions, Canada-Alberta Agreement on Mineral Development (1992-1995)
File formatpdf
NTS73D; 73E; 74D/13; 74D/14; 74E/03; 74E/04; 83A; 83B; 83C; 83F; 83G; 83H
AreaEdmonton; North Saskatchewan River; Pembina River; McLeod River; Embarras river; Gregg River; Lovett River; Blackstone River; Baptise Creek; Ram River; Fort Mackay; Fort McMurray; Athabasca River
Lat/Long WENS-118.0000 -110.0000 54.0000 52.0000
Lat/Long WENS-112.0000 -111.0000 57.2500 56.7500
Subjectsmetallic minerals; mineralogy; alluvial deposits; platinum; gold; heavy minerals; placer deposits; mineral deposits; exploration methods; sulphides; provenance; diamond; mineralogical analyses; chromite; gravels; Shaftesbury Formation
Illustrationsphotomicrographs; sketch maps; analyses
ProgramCanada-Alberta Agreement on Mineral Development, 1992-1995
Released1997 10 01
AbstractThis project characterizes heavy mineral concentrates (HMC), gold and platinum-group minerals (PGM) in modern river placer deposits and unconsolidated paleoplacer fluvial systems. Gold and PGM grains of 25 µm and larger were recovered consistently in the field using washed/sieved material which was panned using a conical pan (metal batelle). Gold and PGM grains also were donated by individuals and mineral exploration companies. Gold morphology varies throughout the grain sizes examined (tens of micrometres to millimetres). Chemical composition ranges from electrum to gold (550-950 fineness). Rivers draining the Mid-Cretaceous Shaftesbury Formation in northeastern Alberta contain pristine-shaped gold grains encrusted with Cu-Fe and Fe-sulphides. Edmonton district preglacial to interglacial Saskatchewan sands and gravels yielded alluvial gold grains and pristine bacterial gold growths on paleoplacer gold substrates. Some homogeneous gold grains contain up to 14.1 wt.% Pt, 8.0 wt.% Pd, and 4.0 wt.% Ag. The most abundant PGM discrete phases are Pt-Fe and Os-Ir-Ru-Pt alloys, occurring as platelets, discs, rods, spheres and crystals. Compositions of the Os-Ir-Ru-Pt alloys plot in the fields of osmium, iridium, ruthenium and rutheniridasmine: these alloys also commonly contain inclusions of chalcopyrite, bornite, osmium, PGM sulphides, tellurides or arsenides. Alluvial chrome spinels also recovered from HMC from central Alberta have major and trace element compositions strongly supporting derivation from deep mantle sources. The occurrence of placer gold-PGM in gravels is uncommon worldwide; comparison to ore deposit settings globally may offer explanations.

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