Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-119
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-119

  27 Sep 2021

27 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Application of lithogeochemical and pyrite trace element data for the determination of vectors to ore in the Raja Au-Co prospect, northern Finland

Sara Raič1, Ferenc Molnár1,a, Nick Cook2, Hugh O`Brien1, and Yann Lahaye1 Sara Raič et al.
  • 1Geological Survery of Finland, Espoo, 02151, Finland
  • 2Mawson Gold Ltd., Vancouver, V6E 3V7, Canada
  • acurrent affiliation: Department of Mineralogy, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, 1117, Hungary

Abstract. Discovering ore deposits is becoming increasingly difficult, and this is particularly true in areas of glaciated terrains. As a new exploration tool for such terrains, we test the vectoring capacities of trace element and sulfur isotope characteristics of pyrite, combined with quantitative tools for whole-rock geochemical datasets. Our target is the Rajapalot gold-cobalt project in northern Finland, where metamorphosed Paleoproterozoic volcanic and-sedimentary rocks of the Peräpohja belt host recently discovered gold prospects, which also have significant cobalt enrichment. The focus is particularly put on a single gold-cobalt prospect, known as Raja, an excellent example of this unusual cobalt-enriched gold deposit, common in the metamorphosed terranes of northern Finland. The major lithologies at Rajapalot comprise variously altered and deformed calcsilicate rocks that alternate with albitized metasedimentary units, mafic volcanic rocks, mica schist and quartzite. Mineralization at Rajapalot prospects is characterized by an older Co-mineralizing event and a younger high-grade Au-mineralization with re-mobilization and re-deposition of Co. Detailed in situ laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is a powerful technique that produces the robust trace element and sulfur isotope databases from paragenetically and texturally well-characterized pyrite from the Raja prospect. The results are treated with appropriate log-ratio transformations and used for multivariate statistical data analysis, such as the computation of principal components. Application of these methods revealed that elements such as Co, Ni, Cu, Au, As, Ag, Mo, Bi, Te, Se, Sn, U, Tl and W have high vectoring capacities to discriminate between Co-only and Au-Co zones, as well as between mineralization stages. The systematic pyrite study suggests that homogenous sulfur isotopic characteristics (1.3 ‰ to +5.9 ‰.) and positive loadings of Co, Se, As, Te, Bi and Au onto PC1 are reflective of an early stage of Co-mineralization, while the opposing negative loadings of Mo, Ni, W, Tl, Cu and Ag along PC1 are associated with the Au-mineralizing event. The sulfur isotopic signature of the latter pyrite type is between −1.2 ‰ and +7.4 ‰. Subtle patterns recognized from the whole-rock geochemistry favor an As-Au-Se-Te-W-U signature along the positive axis of PC1 for the localization of high-grade Au-Co-zones, whereas the element group Ni, Cu, Co, Te, Se and As, which has negative loadings onto PC2, will predict Co-only zones. This study shows the efficiency of trace element geochemistry in mineral exploration targeting, which has the capacity to define future targets by  characterizing the metallogenic potential of a host rock, as well as distinguishing various stages of mineralization.  

Sara Raič et al.

Status: open (until 08 Nov 2021)

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Sara Raič et al.

Sara Raič et al.

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Short summary
Orogenic gold deposits in Paleoproterozoic belts in northern Finland are attractive exploration targets. Some have been explored not only for gold but because of the occurrences of economically important concentrations of base metals, especially cobalt. In this study we are combining pyrite trace element geochemistry with lithogeochemical data in the Raja gold-cobalt prospect (northern Finland) to define vectors to future exploration targets.