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TitleGold mineralization in the Cantung W-skarn deposit, Northwest Territories: an examination of distribution, mineralogy, and petrogenesis
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorPalmer, E M; McFarlane, C R M; Lentz, D R; Falck, H
SourceTGI 4 - intrusion related mineralisation project: New vectors to buried porphyry-style mineralisation; by Rogers, N (ed.); Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 7843, 2015 p. 415-428, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksCanadian Database of Geochemical Surveys, downloadable files
LinksBanque de données de levés géochimiques du Canada, fichiers téléchargeables
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in TGI 4 - Intrusion Related Mineralisation Project: new vectors to buried porphyry-style mineralisation
RelatedThis publication is related to Mineralogy and chemistry of tourmaline in the Woodjam porphyry deposits, British Columbia
File formatpdf
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
Lat/Long WENS-128.0000 -126.0000 61.0000 60.0000
Subjectseconomic geology; mineralogy; porphyry deposits; porphyry copper; mineral exploration; mineralization; alteration; tungsten; molybdenum; gold; skarn deposits; petrogenesis; petrography; Cantung Mine
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; plots; photomicrographs; plots
ProgramTargeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-4) Intrusion/Porphyry Ore Systems
Released2015 06 11; 2023 03 17
AbstractThe Cantung mine is a world-class W-skarn deposit; it is located just east of the Yukon border in the Selwyn Mountain Range of the Northwest Territories. The deposit area is within the southern extent of the polymetallic Tintina Gold Belt, which has many notable intrusion-related Au deposits. The extensive W skarns at Cantung were developed by hydrothermal fluids that, based on earlier research, were determined to be predominately supercritical magmatic brines with homogenization temperatures ranging from 270-500°C. Mineralization is composed of calcic exoskarn replacement of a clean limestone and lower grade replacements in a calc- silicate/chert unit; these occur in both the operating open pit and underground mine (the E Zone). The main sulphide identified petrographically is pyrrhotite, which is abundant in all skarn facies. Scheelite and chalcopyrite are dominant and there is locally abundant sphalerite. Native Bi exhibits textures indicative of forming later than the silicate assemblage in the paragenetic sequence, and it is decorated by bismuthinite, Bi tellurides, Ag tellurides, and Bi selenides. Tungsten and Cu are the main mine products, but the Au potential of the deposit merits further investigation.
This study characterized the distribution, mineralogy, and petrogenesis of Au mineralization by examining five skarn samples with bulk rock Au assay values >0.5 ppm taken from the E Zone. No free gold or electrum were identified petrographically or by SEM and FEG- SEM analyses. A positive correlation (Spearman's Rank, r') of Au with Bi (0.76), Ag (0.70), Fe (0.64), Cu (0.64), and Mo (0.60) was identified using the bulk rock geochemical data (n = 48). The strong correlation between Bi and Au is suggestive of a liquid bismuth collector mechanism for Au enrichment. However, LA ICP-MS analysis of native Bi and Bi alloys failed to reveal significant Au predicted by the liquid bismuth collector model. In contrast, the highest Au concentration was encountered in hessite (Ag2Te) and other tellurides. Nano-inclusions within chalcopyrite and silicate minerals were also investigated using FEGSEM for their Au content, but their composition consisted of native Bi. The decoration of native Bi by bismuthinite, Bi tellurides, Ag tellurides, and Bi selenides provides evidence for a late stage S-, Ag-, and Te-rich fluid. This fluid is thought to have remobilized the Au and deposited it as lattice bound invisible Au within the tellurides. This new data constrains Au exploration targets at Cantung to areas of altered skarn or where there is a presence of telluride minerals.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-4) is a collaborative federal geoscience program that provides industry with the next generation of geoscience knowledge and innovative techniques to better detect buried mineral deposits, thereby reducing some of the risks of exploration. This volume summarises research activities completed under the TGI 4 Intrusion Related Mineralisation Project that focused on porphyry-style ore systems related to the Cu- and Cu-Mo deposits of South-Central British Columbia and the Sn-W-Mo-In deposits in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

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