Precious and Critical Metal-Bearing Assemblages in the Ann Mason Copper Porphyry Deposit, Yerington, Nevada

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Authors

Hannah M Aird, Ceara Purcell, Nancy De Witt, James Matthews, Twyla Capurro, Justin Claiborne, Jocelyn Bermudez, Zachary Meisel

Abstract

Porphyry deposits are an important source of copper and their value may be upgraded by minor contents of precious metals, if they are extractable. The mechanisms for enrichment of precious and base metals in these systems are not well understood. This study investigates the deportment of trace metals in the Ann Mason porphyry deposit, including gold, silver, palladium, mercury, lead and bismuth. Petrographic and geochemical data are integrated to characterize the size and habit of minerals, the host mineral assemblages, and their association with alteration assemblages. Ann Mason is one of several ore deposits hosted by the Yerington batholith in Nevada, and is being assessed for copper extraction from bornite and chalcopyrite ore assemblages, associated with potassic alteration. Mineralization assemblages at Ann Mason have been categorized as chalcopyrite-bornite, chalcopyrite-pyrite and pyrite>chalcopyrite zones. Limited two-metre assay data indicates that gold is most closely associated with bornite, although it is found in all three mineralization zones. Analysis by SEM-EDS shows that trace elements are mostly present as microparticles hosted by sulfide minerals. Of the 438 grains measured, 89% are hosted by a sulfide mineral, with 68% hosted by bornite. Silver is most commonly present as hessite and gold as electrum, hosted by bornite and associated with potassic alteration. Palladium, mercury and bismuth are most commonly observed as telluride and selenide minerals. Palladium minerals are associated with potassic alteration, while mercury and bismuth minerals are mostly found with sericitic alteration. High fineness native gold is observed as three round blebs hosted by pyrite or silicates. Observations suggest that the trace metals in the chalcopyrite-bornite zone may have been incorporated by bornite and chalcopyrite, and exsolved upon cooling. In the chalcopyrite-pyrite and pyrite>chalcopyrite zones, the trace metals may have been deposited directly from a mineralizing hydrothermal fluid and incorporated into the growing sulphide minerals. These findings have implications for the paragenesis of porphyry deposits, as well as for the milling processes that would be needed to extract precious metals at the Ann Mason porphyry deposit.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5R31N

Subjects

Geology

Keywords

Ann Mason, Porphyry, Silver, Sulfides, Mineralization

Dates

Published: 2021-04-07 00:36

Last Updated: 2021-04-07 04:36

License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
None

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