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The Olympic Cu-Au Province, Gawler Craton: A Review of the Lithospheric Architecture, Geodynamic Setting, Alteration Systems, Cover Successions and Prospectivity

by Anthony Reid 1,2
1
Geological Survey of South Australia, Department for Energy and Mining, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
2
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
Minerals 2019, 9(6), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9060371
Received: 29 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iron Oxide-Copper-gold (IOCG) Deposits)
The Olympic Cu-Au Province is a metallogenic province in South Australia that contains one of the world’s most significant Cu-Au-U resources in the Olympic Dam deposit. The Olympic Cu-Au Province also hosts a range of other iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) deposits including Prominent Hill and Carrapateena. This paper reviews the geology of the Olympic Cu-Au Province by investigating the lithospheric architecture, geodynamic setting and alteration systematics. In addition, since the province is almost entirely buried by post-mineral cover, the sedimentary cover sequences are also reviewed. The Olympic Cu-Au Province formed during the early Mesoproterozoic, ca. 1.6 Ga and is co-located with a fundamental lithospheric boundary in the eastern Gawler Craton. This metallogenic event was driven in part by melting of a fertile, metasomatized sub-continental lithospheric mantle during a major regional tectonothermal event. Fluid evolution and multiple fluid mixing resulted in alteration assemblages that range from albite, magnetite and other higher temperature minerals to lower temperature assemblages such as hematite, sericite and chlorite. IOCG mineralisation is associated with both high and low temperature assemblages, however, hematite-rich IOCGs are the most economically significant. Burial by Mesoproterzoic and Neoproterozoic-Cambrian sedimentary successions preserved the Olympic Cu-Au Province from erosion, while also providing a challenge for mineral exploration in the region. Mineral potential modelling identifies regions within the Olympic Cu-Au Province and adjacent Curnamona Province that have high prospects for future IOCG discoveries. Exploration success will rely on improvements in existing potential field and geochemical data, and be bolstered by new 3D magnetotelluric surveys. However, drilling remains the final method for discovery of new mineral resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: IOCG deposits; mineral district; mineral deposit; alteration assemblages; lithosphere; metallogenesis IOCG deposits; mineral district; mineral deposit; alteration assemblages; lithosphere; metallogenesis
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Reid, A. The Olympic Cu-Au Province, Gawler Craton: A Review of the Lithospheric Architecture, Geodynamic Setting, Alteration Systems, Cover Successions and Prospectivity. Minerals 2019, 9, 371.

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