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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Economic Geology, Volume 118, Number 2, p.411-431 (2023)






<p>Case studies around porphyry Cu deposits in the glaciated regions of the Canadian Cordillera have identified the indicator mineral signatures of these deposits in till samples and demonstrated that these are useful methods for porphyry Cu exploration. This study applies the same indicator methods to stream sediment samples around the Casino calc-alkaline porphyry Cu-Au-Mo deposit in the unglaciated terrain of west-central Yukon, Canada. It is one of the largest porphyry Cu-Au-Mo deposits in Canada and is hosted in Late Cretaceous quartz monzonite and associated breccias. Bulk (8–16&nbsp;kg) coarse-grained stream sediment samples were collected in creeks around the deposit, nearby porphyry Cu occurrences and background areas. The Casino deposit has an obvious indicator mineral signature in the &lt;2-mm heavy (&gt;3.2-specific gravity [SG]) and mid-density (2.8- to 3.2-SG) fractions of stream sediments that is detectable at least 18&nbsp;km downstream and includes gold, chalcopyrite, tourmaline, molybdenite, sphalerite, jarosite, goethite, and pyrite. In contrast, not all of these mineralogically anomalous samples have corresponding anomalous geochemical signatures in the fine fraction. The porphyry indicator minerals identified in this study are similar to those reported for glaciated terrain with the addition of molybdenite and secondary minerals. Indicator mineral methods provide physical evidence of nearby mineralization and can be chemically analyzed to provide insights about the nature of the mineralizing system. Government and exploration surveys could benefit from the addition of indicator mineral methods to routine stream sediment sampling protocols in unglaciated regions of the Yukon and elsewhere globally where porphyry Cu exploration is conducted.</p>