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The Lihir gold deposit, Papua New Guinea, is the world’s largest alkalic low-sulfidation epithermal gold deposit in terms of contained gold (50 Moz). The deposit formed over the past million years and records a progression from porphyry- to epithermal-style hydrothermal activity. The early porphyry stage was characterized by biotite-anhydrite-pyrite ± K-feldspar ± magnetite alteration and weak gold ± copper mineralization and produced abundant anhydrite ± carbonate veins and anhydrite ± biotite-cemented breccias. These features collectively characterize the deep-seated anhydrite zone at Lihir.

Several hundred thousand years ago, one or more catastrophic mass-wasting events unroofed the porphyry system after porphyry-stage...

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