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Minerals 2017, 7(11), 226;

Quantification and Prediction of Bulk Gold Fineness at Placer Gold Mines: A New Zealand Example

Department of geology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Waikaia Gold Ltd., Gore 9777, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 19 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geometallurgy)
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This study documents the bulk Au fineness (Au parts per thousand) of the bullion from a placer gold mine in southern New Zealand. The compositions of doré bars produced approximately every 10 days over nearly three years is compared to the range of compositions of gold particles which have been extracted. Silver is the principal impurity in the gold, and the doré bars contained 2–3 wt % Ag over the period examined. At the scale of a typical individual 0.5 mm gold particle, there are three different types of gold: an Ag-bearing core (2–9 wt % Ag), a 10–50 µm wide Ag-poor rim (typically <1 wt % Ag), and micron scale overgrowth gold (0% Ag). The overgrowths are volumetrically negligible, and the average Ag content of a gold particle is controlled principally by the proportions of core and rim gold. The rims have been formed by recrystallisation of deformed core gold, with associated leaching of the Ag from the recrystallised gold. The volumetric proportion of cores has decreased with increasing flattening of gold particles, and highly flattened and folded flakes have little or no remnant cores. The bulk Au fineness of doré bars from the mine has decreased from ~980 to ~970 as the mine progressed upstream in a Pleistocene paleochannel because the upstream gold has been less flattened than the downstream gold. View Full-Text
Keywords: gold; silver; alluvial; recrystallisation; flake; grain gold; silver; alluvial; recrystallisation; flake; grain

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Craw, D.; McLachlan, C.; Negrini, M.; Becker, N. Quantification and Prediction of Bulk Gold Fineness at Placer Gold Mines: A New Zealand Example. Minerals 2017, 7, 226.

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