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The Hishikari high-grade low-sulfidation epithermal gold deposit is located in the Hokusatsu district, about 30 km north of the Kagoshima International Airport, Kagoshima Prefecture (Fig. 1). In early 1981, a narrow (15 cm) but high-grade (290 g/t Au) vein was discovered 200 m below the surface by the Metal Mining Agency of Japan (MITI, 1982), and subsequent development has proved Hishikari to have substantial reserves of high-grade ore. Production from July 1985 to March 2000 totaled 105 tonnes (t) of gold and 58 t of silver from 1.87 Mt of ore. The production plus total reserves are estimated to be 5.5 Mt, including 3.5 Mt at an average grade of 60 to 70 g/t Au in the Honko-Sanjin ore zone and 2 Mt at 20 to 25 g/t Au in the Yamada ore zone, for a total of approximately 260 t of contained gold.

The Hishikari deposit, especially the Honko-Sanjin zone, is characterized by high gold contents in almost all veins and by a very high aluminum content in the veins due to abundant adularia and common smectite. This article presents a summary of the gold deposit at Hishikari and the detailed mineralogical description of a high-grade vein, the Hosen no. 1 vein, hosted by basement sedimentary rocks.

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