The Bi’r Tawilah deposit, central western Saudi Arabia: Supergene enrichment of a Pan-African epithermal gold mineralization

The Bi’r Tawilah deposit, central western Saudi Arabia: Supergene enrichment of a Pan-African epithermal gold mineralization

Author: 
Surour, Adel A.
Place: 
Amsterdam
Publisher: 
Elsevier
Date published: 
2014
Record type: 
Region: 
Responsibility: 
Harbi, Hesham M., jt. author
Ahmed, Ahmed H., jt. author
Journal Title: 
Journal of African Earth Sciences
Source: 
Journal of African Earth Sciences Vol 89 January 2014 pp 149-163
Abstract: 

The Bi’r Tawilah gold deposit in central western Saudi Arabia represents a Pan-African example of gold mineralization in which both hypogene and supergene ores are recorded. The sulphidic gold ore is hosted in intermediate to felsic intrusions that occur along the N–S trending thrust-fault zone within the so-called “Nabitah orogenic zone”. There are four rock units present (from oldest to youngest): serpentinites and related listwaenites, diorites, granitic rocks and porphyries. Hydrothermal alteration consists of chloritization, sericitization, carbonatization and silicification and affects all rock types. Chloritization of biotite results in abundant rutile, whereas sulphidization coincides with carbonatization. The Bi’r Tawilah ore is confined to NW-trending shears (Riedel fractures) related to N–S slip of the pre-existing Tawilah thrust due to activation within the Najd fault system. Samples from the boreholes show macro- and microscopic evidence of shearing such as micro-shear planes and strain shadows of pyrite. Sulphides and gold are present in most rock types. Paragenetically, the sulphides consist of abundant pyrite and relatively lesser amounts of arsenopyrite, in addition to very minor chalcopyrite, sphalerite and galena. In all boreholes, it was noticed that the abundance of arsenopyrite increases with depth. The elevated silver content of electrum (~13–22 wt%) at Bi’r Tawilah is typical of gold deposits and low-sulphidation epithermal deposits. The early mineralization stage took place in proximity to hydrothermally altered intermediate to felsic intrusions. The aerially restricted hydrothermal alteration by carbon-aqueous fluids led to ore remobilization in which gold amounts up to 4.3 g/t. Finally, gold enrichment (up to 5.4 g/t) resulted from supergene alteration that took place during weathering above the water table at a depth of ~20–25 m.

Language: 

CITATION: Surour, Adel A.. The Bi’r Tawilah deposit, central western Saudi Arabia: Supergene enrichment of a Pan-African epithermal gold mineralization . Amsterdam : Elsevier , 2014. Journal of African Earth Sciences Vol 89 January 2014 pp 149-163 - Available at: http://library.au.int/bi’r-tawilah-deposit-central-western-saudi-arabia-supergene-enrichment-pan-african-epithermal-gold-2