Multistage gold mineralization in the Wa-Lawra greenstone belt, NW Ghana: The Bepkong deposit

Prince Ofori Amponsah, Stefano Salvi, Béziat Didier, Lenka Baratoux, Luc Siebenaller, Mark Jessell, Prosper Mackenzie Nude, Eugene Adubofour Gyawu

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Bepkong gold deposit is one of several gold camps in the Paleoproterozoic Wa-Lawra greenstone belt in northwest Ghana. These deposits lay along the Kunche-Atikpi shear zone, which is part of the larger transcurrent Jirapa shear zone. The formation of these shear zones can be attributed to the general ESE-WNW major shortening that took place in the Wa-Lawra belt. Gold mineralization in the Bepkong deposit mainly occurs within graphitic shales and volcaniclastic rocks. The ore consists of four N-S trending lenticular bodies, plunging steeply to the south, that are lithologically and structurally controlled. Their shape and thickness are variable, though a general strike length of 560 m and an overall thickness of 300 m can be defined. An alteration mineral assemblage characterises the ore, and consists of chlorite-calcite-sericite-quartz-arsenopyrite-pyrite. Pyrite, as distinct from arsenopyrite, is not limited to the altered rocks and occurs throughout the area. At Bepkong, gold is associated with arsenopyrite and pyrite, which occur disseminated in the mineralized wall rock, flanking Type-1 quartz veins, or within fractures crossing these veins. Textural observations indicate the early formation of abundant arsenopyrite, followed by pyrite, with chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite and pyrrhotite occurring as inclusions within pyrite and altered arsenopyrite. Detailed petrography, coupled with SEM, LA-ICP-MS and EMP analyses, indicate that gold in the Bepkong deposit occurs in three distinct forms: (i) invisible gold, mostly in arsenopyrite (ii); visible gold as micron-size grains within fractures and altered rims of arsenopyrite, as well as at the interface of sulphide grains; (iii) free visible gold in fractures in quartz veins and their selvages. We interpret the invisible gold to have co-precipitated with the early-formed arsenopyrite. The small visible gold grains observed within the sulphide interfaces, altered arsenopyrite, fractures and grain boundaries, are interpreted to have formed as a result of the dissolution and redistribution of the invisible gold during later alteration of arsenopyrite, which took place at lower temperatures during crenulation and fracturing accompanying late deformation, and was accompanied by pervasive pyritization of the wall rock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-237
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Volume120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arsenopyrite
  • Bepkong deposit
  • Fluid inclusions
  • Gold remobilization
  • Invisible gold
  • NW Ghana
  • Pyrite

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