ABSTRACT

Exploration for gold in Nunavut has been primarily focused on Archean greenstone belts in the north and coastal regions of the territory, resulting in large areas of underexplored terrain in the south. The Kiyuk Lake property is located in the underexplored southwest corner of the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut within the Hearne domain of the ∼1.9 Ga western Churchill Province. The property is hosted by Proterozoic calc-silicate and clastic sedimentary units of the Hurwitz Group (<2.4–1.9 Ga) and the unconformably overlying Kiyuk Group (1.9–1.83 Ga). Gold mineralization in Proterozoic sedimentary rocks is rare in the Canadian Shield, so the Rusty Zone at Kiyuk Lake presents a unique opportunity to study the enigmatic gold mineralization hosted in such sedimentary rocks. Mineralization at the Rusty Zone is hosted by an immature lithic wacke cut by thin intermediate dikes that are associated with hydrothermal breccias composed of Fe-carbonate, calcite, calcic-amphibole, Fe-sulfide, Fe-oxide minerals, and gold. Textural and timing relationships suggest that the gold mineralization is post-sedimentary and syn- to post-intrusion of intermediate dikes. Stable isotope thermometry suggests that mineralization took place between 450 and 600 °C, and geochronological studies indicate that the intrusion and mineralization occurred before or about 1.83 Ga. Using basement breaching thrusts faults as conduits to the surface, over-pressurization along a later normal fault is thought to be the primary cause for the localized breccia pipe that controls gold mineralization. The hydrothermal fluids are postulated to be volatile-rich aqueous solutions exsolved from a source of cooling magmas at depth. Although sub-economic at present, the occurrence of high-grade gold in a Paleoproterozoic basin such as Kiyuk Lake could signal a new opportunity for exploration for gold in the Canadian Shield.

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