Abstract

A type of Co–Ni arsenide deposit with accessory gold and no silver can be recognized in ultramafic massifs of upper mantle origin. The Bou Azzer deposits (50 000 t Co) are distributed along the borders of serpentinite massifs in an Upper Proterozoic ophiolite (Anti-Atlas, Morocco). They consist of quartz–carbonate lenses with Co (Ni–Fe) arsenides. Gold is related to the skutterudite (8–15 ppm average content). In the Alpine lherzolite massif of Beni Bousera (Rif, Morocco) are found small chromite–Ni arsenides veins (300 t Ni) with accessory gold. They are associated with late orthopyroxene–vermiculite dikes. Several occurrences of As, arsenides, and gold-bearing carbonate rocks are found in serpentinites from various ophiolites. It is proposed that gold was leached by As- and Co2-rich hydrothermal solutions related to the serpentinization of mantle peridotites.

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