Gold Mineralization in Archean Banded Iron Formation, Third Portage Lake Area, Northwest Territories, Canad

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1996

A.E. ARMITAGE, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5B7. R.S. JAMES, Department of Earth Sciences, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 2C8. S.P. GOFF, Geology Division, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, X1A 2R3

Oxide-facies banded iron formation in the Third Portage Lake area is hosted by ultrama?c and calc-alkaline volcanic rocks and related sedimentary rocks of the Archean (2.8 Ga) Woodburn Lake Group, 80 km north of Baker Lake. These rocks record at least two phases of metamorphism/metasomatism. Greenschist facies metamorphism, in the temperature range of 370°C to 520°C and at pressures above 2.3 kbar, has affected all rocks on a regional scale. Later mineralization and alteration of banded iron formation (BIF) and associated volcanic rocks resulted from metasomatic ?uids which carried Mg, K, Ca, S, As, Cu and Au. These ?uids were con?ned to ductile to brittle, cross-cutting and layer-parallel micro-shears developed in the thickened hinge region of a shallow plunging recumbent fold. Metasomatic reactions yielded cummingtonite + biotite-bearing assemblages which are associated with strongly mineralized iron formation. Pyrrhotite is the dominant sul?de phase and occurs within ductily deformed iron formation where it pervasively replaces magnetite. Minor ?ne-grained chalcopyrite and arsenopyrite generally occur as inclusions within pyrrhotite and recrystallized magnetite, and rarely as individual grains. Pyrite is restricted to brittlely deformed iron formation, and to the contact between iron formation and altered ultrama?c rocks, where it is associated with quartz veins. Pyrite typically replaces pyrrhotite. Native gold is associated with both pyrrhotite and pyrite, but higher gold concentrations are associated with pyrite. Grunerite/Ca amphibole + stilpnomelane and sparse pyrrhotite and pyrite characterize weakly mineralized iron formation. Within adjacent ultrama?c rocks, metasomatic reactions yielded assemblages of interlayered Ca-amphibole + biotite, and talc + Ca-amphibole + carbonate + biotite. K-Ar geochronology on metasomatic biotite from mineralized BIF yielded a 1791 ± 32 Ma age. An epigenetic model is favored for the emplacement of gold. The age of the gold mineralization in the Third Portage Lake area is uncertain, but may be Proterozoic based on the preliminary isotopic age and by analogy with Proterozoic gold deposits elsewhere in this part of the Churchill Structural Province.
Mots Clés: Mineralization, Gold mineralization, Northwest Territories, Portage Lake, Metamorphism.