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On the origin of the Fäboliden orogenic gold deposit, northern Sweden

by Bark, Glenn, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
A new promising ore province, the Gold Line, southwest of the well- known Skellefte District, northern Sweden, is currently under exploration. This province hosts, so far, one operating mine, the Svartliden Au mine, and the recently closed Blaiken Zn-Pb-Au-Ag mine. The largest known gold deposit, the hypozonal Fäboliden orogenic gold deposit, in the area was recently granted mining permits. The deposit holds c. 54 Mt at 1.2 g/t Au, with a planned production of 4.6 Mt of ore/year. The mineralization at Fäboliden is commonly hosted in arsenopyrite-bearing quartz-veins, within a roughly N-S striking, steeply dipping shear zone in amphibolite facies volcano- sedimentary host rocks. The narrow belt of supracrustal rocks is surrounded by late- to post-orogenic Revsund granite. The gold is fine-grained (2-40 µm) and closely associated with arsenopyrite- löllingite and stibnite. Gold is found in fractures and as inclusions in the arsenopyrite-löllingite. Gold is also seen as free grains in the silicate matrix of the host rock. The hydrothermal mineral assemblage in the proximal alteration zone is diopside, calcic amphibole, biotite, and minor andalusite and tourmaline. This type of assemblage is commonly recognized in hypozonal orogenic gold deposits worldwide. The lateral extent of the proximal alteration zone is estimated to 30-50 meters, and there is a good agreement between diopside- amphibole-biotite alteration, quartz veining, and gold mineralization. The mineral assemblage in the distal alteration zone is characterised by the presence of Ca- and Fe-Mg amphiboles, hedenbergite, biotite, and quartz. The transition from the distal alteration into the regional metamorphic assemblage is diffuse, and the only discernable feature appears to be a gradual decrease of amphibole away from the mineralization. The ductile gold-hosting fabric progresses laterally across the Revsund granite contact and then disappears after a few meters inside the granite, suggesting that at least the final stages of mineralization syn- to postdate the emplacement of the c. 1.81-1.77 Ga Revsund granite. Relationships between garnet-biotite and graphite geothermometry, together with these field relationships, indicate that the late stages of mineralization at Fäboliden post-date regional peak-metamorphism in the area, which is estimated at c. 1.80 Ga. The Fäboliden gold mineralization is hosted by a reverse, mainly dip-slip, high-angle shear zone with a relatively small horizontal shear movement. The mineralization constitutes two sets of mineralized quartz veins, one steep fault-fill vein system that is parallel to the regional foliation and one flat-lying extensional vein system. Both vein sets are suggested to have been generated from the same stress field, during E-W shortening at c. 1.80 Ga. At least two types of ore shoot are present at Fäboliden, intersections between the fault-fill vein set and the extensional vein set and bends in the shear zone system both show elevated gold content, similar to many gold- quartz vein deposits globally. The fluids involved in the precipitation of gold at Fäboliden shows characteristics similar to other hypozonal orogenic gold deposits, such as a CO2-CH4-H2S fluid composition and pressure-temperature conditions of c. 4 kbar and 520-560°C. Sulphur isotope data ranges between -1.5 and +3.6‰. Oxygen and hydrogen isotope data ranges between +10.6 and 13.1‰, and -120 to -67‰, respectively. The hydrothermal fluids at Fäboliden are interpreted to have originate from a crustally contaminated magmatic source. The potential for future orogenic gold discovery in the Fennoscandian Shield is considered good. From this PhD study it is suggested that interesting targets, concerning exploration for orogenic gold in at least the Gold Line, would be areas associated with roughly N-S striking tectonic zones that were active at around 1.80 Ga.
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Advisor:

School:Luleå tekniska universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

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Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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