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Defining the multi-scale controls on high-grade gold mineralisation



A collaborative ARC linkage project to investigate the Multi-scale controls on High-grade Gold Mineralisation and to improve our understanding of how extremely high-grade gold occurrences form.

This initiative is co-funded by the ARC and industry sponsors including: Karora Resources, Northern Star and Kirkland Lake. Additional sponsors may still join the project at this stage. 
The project is a collaborative effort lead by Nico Thébaud from the Centre for Exploration Targeting (UWA), supported by UWA researchers Laura Petrella, Laure Martin and Lauri Virnes (new PhD student), Curtin University researcher Denis Fougerouse, Monash University researchers Joel Brugger, Andrew Tomkins, Christopher Voisey and Gan Duan and partner investigators from the CSIRO Mark Pearce and Weihua Liu.
This initiative offers a fantastic opportunity for sponsors to fund a project that will generate new knowledge in the area of gold geochemistry using multi-scales and interdisciplinary approaches as well as novel experimental studies. This project aims at further our understanding of metal transport and accumulation within deposits and expected outcomes include reducing the unpredictability of high-grade gold occurrences that impact both production and exploration strategies. 

Research Program
The study will focus on three high-grade gold deposits located in Australia and owned by our sponsors: the Beta Hunt mine owned by Karora Resources, the Jundee mine owned by Northern Star Resources, and the Fosterville mine owned by Fosterville Gold Mine. The deposits are all orogenic gold ores that contain extremely high-grade gold intervals exceeding 1% Au. Two of the mines are hosted in the Archean Yilgarn craton in Western Australia, and the other is Ordovician in age hosted in the Bendigo Zone of the Lachlan Orogen. These inherent contrasts in age, host-rock lithology and structural style will allow for rigorous comparison of hypotheses for high-grade gold formation.
The project will be approached via three interdependent modules, addressing: 1) multi-scale architectural controls on high-grade gold mineralisation; 2) detailed characterisation of well constrained samples probing into the possible gold transport mechanisms; and 3) experimental studies investigating the physicochemical processes controlling transport and deposition of gold.