Abstract

The Owl Creek Mine is located near the west end of the Neo-archean Abitibi greenstone belt, 17 km northeast of Timmins, Ontario, and 4 km north of the Destor Porcupine fault. Gold occurs in epigenetic quartz veins and their pyritic wallrocks in two zones within a package of east striking, steeply north dipping, volcanic and sedimentary rocks. At the West Zone, 1729 603 t of ore with a grade of 4.83 g/t Au (268 587 troy oz.) were produced from an open pit centered on a wedge-shaped unit of Tisdale Group basalt that occurs between two overturned, south facing units of Porcupine Group graywacke and argillite. Basalt/graywacke contacts are locally marked by graphitic-carbonaceous argillite, strike-parallel faults and massive quartz veins. Deformed quartz+ or -ankerite veins occur along the graphitic sedimentary/volcanic contacts and in gently to moderately dipping fractures in basalts, and, to a lesser extent, in graywackes. Veins also occur sub-parallel to steeply dipping 070 degrees foliation. Altered host basalts are composed of iron carbonate, sericite, quartz, carbon, chlorite and disseminated pyrite. Gold occurs as inclusions in pyrite, and less commonly as free gold in fractures and along graphite-quartz grain boundaries in quartz veins. Fractures preferentially developed in more competent basalts during pre- to syn-ore deformation are interpreted to have provided the permeability required for emplacement of mineralized quartz veins. Carbonaceous basalt/graywacke contacts further enhanced gold deposition by acting as chemical traps. The interaction of hydrothermal fluids with these carbonaceous sedimentary rocks led to the characteristic local darkening of host basalts due to carbon impregnation and chlorite development.

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