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Minerals 2017, 7(8), 142; doi:10.3390/min7080142

Contrasting Surficial Composition of Native Gold from Two Different Types of Gold Ore Deposits

1
A.P. Vinogradov Institute of Geochemistry, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk 664033, Russia
2
Limnological Institute, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk 664033, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 7 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Hydrothermal Metallic Mineral Deposits)
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Abstract

Native gold grains sampled at two different gold ore deposits in Eastern Russia have been studied by the techniques of electron spectroscopy (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES)), electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDX). The high-fineness gold of the deposit hosted by relatively high temperature gold-quartz-sulfide mesothermal ore formation contains no oxidized Au constituents on grain surfaces, whereas the less fine gold of the epithermal Au-Ag deposit contains gold oxidized to the Au (I) state, or higher, in half of the cases. At this deposit the surface of native Au consists of a thin layer (~15 nm) with elevated Ag and S contents and an underlying SiO2–containing layer ~30–60 nm thick. Such a composite coating can perform a protective function and prevent the gold-silver sulfides in surficial parts of AuAg grains from oxidation. The sulfur-enriched marginal parts of native gold particles do not always correlate with the stoichiometry of well-known binary AuAg-sulfides and have a variable composition. This may be due to the existence of solid solutions, Ag2−xAuxS, if there is enough S or S adsorption-stabilized cluster agglomerates, AgnAumS, under sulfur deficit. The effect of the formation of nano-scale surficial zonality on the surface of native gold is quite common in nature and applicable to geological exploration and technology of gold-ore processing. It can facilitate establishing the geochemical environment and genetic type of Au mineralization. View Full-Text
Keywords: native gold; surface; chemical composition; electrum; sulfidation; oxidation; XPS; AES; SEM-EDX; EMPA native gold; surface; chemical composition; electrum; sulfidation; oxidation; XPS; AES; SEM-EDX; EMPA
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tauson, V.L.; Kravtsova, R.G.; Makshakov, A.S.; Lipko, S.V.; Arsent’ev, K.Y. Contrasting Surficial Composition of Native Gold from Two Different Types of Gold Ore Deposits. Minerals 2017, 7, 142.

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